G.fast, a new fixed broadband technology standard which utilises existing copper last mile connections to deliver download speeds of up to 1Gbps, has received first-stage approval at a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group 15 this week in Geneva. According to the ITU’s press release, Recommendation ITU-T G.9700 specifies methods to minimise the risk of G.fast equipment interfering with broadcast services such as FM radio, paving the way for G.fast to be approved ‘in early 2014.’ The technology is designed to deliver superfast speeds on copper last mile distances of up to 250 metres, thereby eliminating the expense of installing fibre between the copper distribution point and the user’s premises, while enabling self-installation by consumers without a technician’s assistance. The G.fast standard is being coordinated with the Broadband Forum’s fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) system architecture project; the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) and the Broadband Forum have been working closely to ensure that G.fast solutions can be quickly placed into FTTdp deployments. TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported earlier this 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 100 metres. Earlier, in April CommsUpdate reported on the case for deploying FTTdp, as presented by Orange France’s head of Optical Research & Development, Naveena Genay: to support Orange’s goal of covering 3,600 districts with 100Mbps fibre (FTTx) access by 2015, Ms Genay said that FTTdp can be utilised as an alternative to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), as in France the existing local access network distribution points are suitably close to the user – often no more than 50 metres. She added that FTTdp serves a single user per optical network termination (ONT) – making it straightforward to comply with local loop unbundling (LLU) regulations. Furthermore, unlike FTTH, FTTdp and G.fast require no additional indoor cabling, while the technology is ‘reverse powered’, or in other words the power supply comes from each user’s premises.