nbn has announced its intention of beginning trials of G.Fast, a technology capable to delivering superfast broadband over the copper loop.
The announcement comes hard on the heels of a decision by British Telecom (BT) to move to large scale G.Fast trials in the UK. Some 2,000 homes and businesses will be G.Fast enabled, with a view to full deployment within two years.
As with all DSL technologies, the speeds that can be achieved over the copper “last mile” depend on the distance between the distribution point and the premises.
G.Fast has proven capable of providing speeds of 1Gbps over copper lines no longer than 250 metres – though BT is now claiming that it has achieved similar speeds over 350 metres in laboratory conditions.
As industry newsletter, Communications Day, points out that could be particularly relevant for the NBN. Research published by GQI Consulting less than two years ago suggested that some 70% of the Australian population was within 350m of the cabinets or pillars where FTTN nodes will be co-located by NBN.
Much will continue to depend, of course, on the state of the last 350 metres of residual copper, though pushing the fibre out even closer to the home than in the FTTN model would go some way to dealing with that problem.
No date has been given for the NBN trials but they will be watched with keen interest by the industry.