Belgium’s fixed line incumbent Belgacom has announced the commercial launch of its vectoring network. Having partnered with French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent on the development of the technology, Belgacom noted that following tests with ‘thousands’ of subscribers during 2013 it had been able to finalise the processes necessary to allow the smooth activation of vectoring for those customers using a new generation modem, the B-BOX3. Nationwide activation of the vectoring technology actually got underway in December 2013 in the town of Mechelen, the operator noted, with Herstal, Laeken, Roeselaere and Mons following soon after. Looking ahead, in the next phase of switch-on more towns will be activated from April 2014 and by 2016 Belgacom says it expects to have completed the upgrade of its entire VDSL2 network, which consists of 22,000 remote optical cabinets.
With Belgacom and Alca-Lu having collaborated on the VDSL2 vectoring development since 2011, and with other partners including home gateway manufacturers Sagemcom and Technicolor, and the chipset developers Broadcom and Ikanos, the technology boosts broadband speeds over copper lines from 30Mbps on standard VDSL2 to 70Mbps on vectored lines. At the end of 2013 Belgacom had more than one million active VDSL2 lines, and its network covered 88.5% of the population, it noted.
Commenting on the launch of the technology, Johan Luystermans, Belgacom’s Vice President Network Engineering & Operations said: ‘Today, Belgacom is living up to the commitment we made back in 2011 to make Belgium one of the world’s leading ultra-broadband nations, with millions of households connected to our fibre and VDSL2 vectoring network … We take pride in paving the way [for] new technologies and are delighted to be the first telecommunications service provider in the world to activate VDSL2 vectoring on a nationwide network.’