Celtic-Plus Explores Cost-effective Broadband Access on G.fast Standard

  • Celtic-Plus
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY — Celtic-Plus, a European research initiative to define, perform and finance common research projects focused on a "Smart Connected World" paradigm, is launching a $4.8 million project to explore multiple-gigabit copper access based on G.fast, a digital subscriber line (DSL) standard for the local loop. The Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop (GOLD) project will initiate the planned second version of the G.fast standard and boost its usability in dense city areas. The goal is to develop alternative backhauling options based on copper instead of fiber. This could lead to significant cost reductions in the network, particularly within dense urban areas in Europe.

GOLD builds on the success of the completed HFCC/G.fast project, which demonstrated throughput of nearly 1 Gbps per copper pair at 328 feet, and up to 170 Mbps per copper pair at 1575 feet, on a 16-pair standard cable. This is as much as an order of magnitude improvement compared to existing DSL technologies. GOLD will push G.fast even further to multiple-gigabit copper access rates by exploring a second version of the G.fast standard working at higher frequencies and preparing the ground for fifth generation fixed broadband.

G.fast Becoming a Key Technology for European Operators
“G.fast is quickly turning into a key technology for European operators,” said Trevor Linney, head of Access Network Research at BT. “During our lab evaluations, it has outperformed our expectations in terms of bitrate and reach for fixed line subscribers. Now, we have formed the GOLD project to drive further improvements in the capabilities of this exciting technology, working closely with vendors and other global operators.”

G.fast is the ideal technology for maximizing the value of existing copper infrastructure. Currently fiber roll-out is very expensive and therefore roll-outs are not happening on a large scale in the access network. G.fast bridges this gap by providing high-speed broadband over the existing copper cables. During the HFCC/G.fast project, lab trials were performed by BT, Orange, Telefonica and TNO. In summer 2015, BT will start G.fast pilots in two UK cities, Huntingdon and Gosforth, with around 4,000 business and home connections.

GOLD Celtic-Plus Project
The Celtic-Plus project GOLD (Gigabits Over the Legacy Drop) will explore multiple-gigabit copper access based on the DSL standard G.fast. GOLD focuses on the planned second version of the G.fast standard with the aim of boosting the usability of G.fast in dense city areas and thus develop alternative, cost-effective backhauling options based on copper instead of fiber.

The GOLD consortium consists of 12 companies from 8 countries including service providers BT (UK), Orange SA (FR); equipment vendors ADTRAN GmbH (DE), Alcatel-Lucent (BE), Ericsson AB (SE), Sagemcom (FR), and Telnet Redes Inteligentes SA (ES); chip vendors Marvell Semiconductors (ES) and Sckipio Technologies (IL); and researchers at Lund University (SE) and TNO (NL). The project is coordinated by Lund University. The 3-year project started in January 2015 and will run until December 2017. Further information will soon be available on the project website at www.4gbb.eu.

About the HFCC/G.fast Celtic-Plus Project
The Celtic-Plus project HFCC/G.fast (Hybrid Fiber-Copper connectivity using G.fast) advanced the emerging digital subscriber line (DSL) technology by developing innovations ranging from channel measurements and transceiver designs to novel system architectures and use cases. This has pushed the standardization process as well as the broadband deployment in Europe.

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