First G.fast customer connected by Telekom Austria's A1 as part of trial

A1, the domestic service provider subsidiary of the Telekom Austria Group, says it connected the first customer in the world to a G.fast link. The connection formed part of a G.fast demonstration conducted with Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) that included transmission of services at rates greater than 100 Mbps. The test sets the stage for commercial launch of G.fast supported services in 2016, A1 says.

A1, the domestic service provider subsidiary of the Telekom Austria Group, says it connected the first customer in the world to a G.fast link. The connection formed part of a G.fast demonstration conducted with Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) that included transmission of services at rates greater than 100 Mbps. The test sets the stage for commercial launch of G.fast supported services in 2016, A1 says.

G.fast is a technology carriers hope to use as the successor to VDSL with vectoring to push service speeds close to 1 Gbps (see "BT says trials prove gigabit potential of G.fast technology"). While the associated ITU-T Recommendations aren’t expected to be fully ratified until the end of the year, chips for G.fast nodes and customer premises equipment have already been announced from start-up Sckipio Technologies (see "G.fast chipsets from Sckipio Technologies debut"). Next week's Broadband World Forum likely will see similar unveilings.

Systems houses such as Alcatel-Lucent also have begun to show prototype G.fast capabilities, such as those used in the A1 demonstration.

"We're proud to have succeeded in connecting the first customer in the world to our domestic A1 network with G.fast," said Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Telekom Austria Group and A1. "This technology will enable us to offer urban areas data rates 10, even up to 20 times higher than ever before. Fiber to the home remains our long-term vision, but we consider G.fast as an intelligent interim solution until fiber will have a similar coverage as we have with copper now."

While the specifications will include applications at reaches of 500 m, Alcatel-Lucent and A1 said in a press release that "the length of the copper lines should not exceed 250 m." Therefore, A1 sees G.fast as an option best suited for multi-storey buildings.

"With G.fast, fiber is deployed all the way to the basement of a building, with the final connection to the single living spaces being made with existing copper lines. This allows for a considerable reduction of expenses, as no costly rewiring at the customer premises is required," explained Ametsreiter. "The data rates reached with G.fast will meet the needs of even the most demanding households over the next 10-20 years. If, in the meantime, extensive renovation works for the staircase of the buildings are planned, it will be up to the tenants to decide whether to install a fiber connection all the way to their living spaces."

But even limiting G.fast to multiple dwelling or tenant units would represent a significant deployment. Vienna alone has "ten thousands of old buildings" for which G.fast would provide the best method of high-speed broadband service provision, A1 says.

This is at least the second G.fast demonstration A1 and Alcatel-Lucent have performed, following a 1-Gbps trial announced mid last year (see "Alcatel-Lucent demos 1-Gbps G.fast with Telekom Austria").

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