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ASSIA Say BT Could Offer Fully Unbundled 400Mbps G.fast Broadband

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 (9:22 am) - Score 1,181

California-based ASSIA, which sells services to broadband ISPs around the world and occasionally sues BT (here), has claimed that their new DSM Data Sharing technology could enable Openreach to offer “fully unbundledG.fast to rival ISPs and boost its top speed to 400Mbps.

At present BT intends to make the new G.fast (ITU G.9700/9701) service available to 10 million UK premises by 2020, with “most of the UK” likely to be done by 2025 (this probably equates to around 60% UK coverage). Initially G.fast will only offer top download speeds of ‘up to’ 300Mbps (50Mbps upload), although they’ve already said that it will eventually rise to 500Mbps.

G.fast is also a vectored solution, which means that it’s designed to cancel out performance killing crosstalk interference that occurs when lots of active copper lines are in close proximity. On top of that Openreach must also set aside a few MHz of spectrum for unbundled binder coexistence with other technologies (e.g. VDSL) and operators.

However vectoring requires an operator to be in full control of the group (binder) of lines that it wants to affect, which presents an obstacle to full unbundling (allowing rival ISPs to take more control of a line by installing some of their own kit into BT’s network) and is part of the reason why current FTTC (VDSL) “fibre broadband” lines have adopted a virtual unbundling (VULA) fix. Similarly the loss of some spectrum for coexistence can hamper the top service speeds.

The ASSIA solution of DSM Data Sharing is software unbundling, which they claim would enable use of the full G.fast spectrum (2-106MHz) and deliver “FULLY Unbundled Vectored DSLs” for a multi-ISP environment.

Dr. John Cioffi, ASSIA CEO, said:

“We wanted to find a way to protect competition while also yielding maximum performance. Competition has delivered to Britain some of the best broadband in Europe at a price that is far below Canada and the United States. This can be accomplished by software unbundling which we call DSM Data Sharing.

Each operator would have independent software systems allowing each to manage and support their customers’ quality of experience, enabling all to offer differentiated service products. Everything would remain the same except the last copper link to the homes with no new equipment innovation necessary, unlike other recent proposals to connect different vectored DSLAMs

The ten million lines BT is cost-effectively upgrading to G.fast can run even faster if all ISPs cooperate for maximum performance. The 330Mbps G.fast trials BT is running could deliver over 400Mbps even in their unbundled network. An extra 100 megabits for millions of homes should be a powerful incentive for the ISPs and OFCOM to find a path forward.”

The system would also have other benefits, such as automated interfaces (no manual approaches like with VULA) and it would enable fault correlation and optimisation across multiple operator’s lines, all of which could help to reduce operational costs.

Mind you BT may have a different view on the regulatory, technical and cost of implementation side of things. The real test would be whether or not Sky Broadband and TalkTalk find DSM Data Sharing attractive and it’s probably a bit too early to expect an answer on that.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Steve Jones says:

    Calling this full unbundling is clearly overstating the case. It is interesting, but there appear to be lots of potential conflicts here as (from my quick reading) there would be something akin to contention over bandwidth in that the choices made by one ISP would have an affect on the service of others. That sounds like there’s endless possibilities for complications.

    However, as a technology to squeeze as much throughput as possible through the wires in a binder through the use of adaptive techniques it shows promise, albeit I don’t think this company is the only game in town. There’s lots of work going on at the moment.

    I don’t really think this makes a fundamental difference to the GEA-FTTC and GEA-G.FAST VULA approaches save to provide some individual tailoring by ISP. But it might require some different approaches to the charging regimes.

  2. Neil McRae says:

    only 400M?! 😉

    1. themanstan says:

      You tease! I hope you´ll spill the beans sooner rather than later!!!

  3. DTMark says:

    This strikes me as being similar to an inventor taking the idea for an everlasting light bulb to a light bulb manufacturer.

    1. karl says:

      Nah the copper wire in them performs as it should in real life 😉

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