The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said yesterday in a press release that it is on track to give final approval in April 2014 to G.fast, the new ITU broadband standard capable of achieving access speeds of up to 1Gbps over existing copper telephone wires within a 250-metre range of a distribution point using fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) architecture. The release said that the physical-layer protocol aspects of G.fast defined by Recommendation ITU-T G.9701 ‘Fast Access to Subscriber Terminals – Physical layer specification’ have reached the point of stability required to initiate the standard’s approval procedure. Chip manufacturers will now scale-up G.fast chip design and testing efforts, feeding results of this work into ITU-T Study Group 15 in the interests of finalising G.fast as early as April 2014. The statement added that ITU-T G.9701 is on track to achieving final approval in conjunction with Recommendation ITU-T G.9700, which specifies methods to ensure that G.fast equipment will not interfere with broadcast services such as FM radio; the latter Recommendation received first-stage approval in July 2013, while CommsUpdate reported earlier that month that Alcatel-Lucent and A1 Telekom Austria conducted what they claimed to be the world’s first G.fast trial, noting that the technology will typically support speeds of 500Mbps over a 100-metre last mile copper connection.
The ITU says that G.fast’s fibre-like speeds allow service providers to cost-effectively augment their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) strategies while gaining customer self-installation benefits similar to ADSL2. The G.fast project is being coordinated with the Broadband Forum’s FTTdp system architecture project, and has attracted active participation from a range of service providers, chip manufacturers, and system vendors, who have confirmed the standard’s peak gigabit-per-second capability through lab and field trials using prototype equipment based on mature drafts of the standard.