G.fast receives final ITU approval

9 Dec 2014

On 5 December 2014 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced the final approval of new fixed broadband standard G.fast, which is designed as a cost-efficient alternative to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to deliver access speeds of up to 1Gbps over existing copper last mile networks when deployed in conjunction with fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) system architecture. The approval of the physical-layer protocol aspects of G.fast – defined by Recommendation ITU-T G.9701 ‘Fast Access to Subscriber Terminals (FAST) – Physical layer specification’ – follows the approval in April this year of ITU-T G.9700, a companion text specifying methods to ensure that G.fast equipment will not interfere with broadcast services such as FM radio.

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general, ITU, stated: ‘The time from G.fast’s approval to its implementation looks set to be the fastest of any access technology in recent memory. A range of vendors has begun shipping G.fast silicon [chipsets] and equipment, and service providers’ lab and field trials are well underway.’ The development of G.fast has been coordinated with the Broadband Forum’s FTTdp project, and Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said: ‘The Broadband Forum is working closely with the ITU to ensure compliance with the G.fast standard and certify chipsets and equipment … We have already set our first plugfest [collaborative event allowing manufacturers to come together and test interfaces] for January 2015.’ The Broadband Forum has begun developing a test suite and certification programme for G.fast systems, a beta-trial of which is planned for mid-2015, and certified G.fast implementations are expected to appear on the market before the end of 2015.