back to article G.fast is HERE: Sckipio slurps funding to cook up SPAWN of VDSL tech

Having sold his company Coppergate to Sigma Designs in 2009 for around $190m, Sckipio boss David (Dudi) Baum has got the band together to build a fixed broadband chip to take advantage of the 1Gbps-over-copper VDSL successor G.fast, which was ratified as an ITU standard this week. Sckipio has raised $17m in a series of second- …

  1. HMB

    7 Years

    Ratified in 2005 and starting to become available in the mainstream in 2012, it took 7 years for BT to get VDSL2 out. Can we expect G.fast to take another 7 years to 2021/2022?

    Considering BT are already trialling vectoring on existing VDSL2, with notions to pop VDSL2 up to 100Mbps and they're trialling XGPON 10 Gbps over their existing FTTH, I'd say the chances of G.fast becoming available in the UK (which requires more groundwork instead of simpler cabinet upgrades for vectoring) are considerably less than a zombie Jimmy Saville rising up and being invited to the next Children in Need alongside Pudsey bear.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still seems a bit pointless

    for the UK at least.

    BT seems to be gung ho on it, but I honestly can't see how it will be any cheaper than going for full FTTP except in places with underground wiring and a nightmare network of collapsed ducts.

    The most expensive bit is getting the fibre to the pole, which they'll have to do regardless of if they use "FTTdp" (Gfast) or full fat FTTP - and then you incur costs in buying all these DSLAMs, powering the pole top equipment (unless this reverse power stuff is a reality), and paying more for first-generation Gfast modems for the home - and in the end you've still got a distance issue and will eventually need to be upgraded to FTTP anyway if 10Gbit becomes a residential requirement!

    FTTP is a proven technology that BT are themselves using today in tiny chunks and around the world by multiple operators, is much simpler and more reliable, isn't reliant on sensitive electronics getting baked or frozen by the weather and has no speed/distance issues.

    FTTC, while still a massive short-sighted bodge, at least make some sense as it is genuinely quicker and cheaper to install (even if it's already working flat out from day one and has the same speed lottery as ADSL)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still seems a bit pointless

      "BT seems to be gung ho on it, but I honestly can't see how it will be any cheaper than going for full FTTP except in places with underground wiring and a nightmare network of collapsed ducts."

      If you have a distribution point at the top of a pole with twenty phone lines coming in and twenty going out to customers, you can bundle the incoming side together to provide backhaul and power using an EFM type technology to the mini G.Fast kit you then stick at the top of the pole and replace POTS with VoiP. Fibre backhaul would be better but it's not absolutely essential.

      "FTTC, while still a massive short-sighted bodge"

      FTTC seems sensible. Only something like one in seven premises that can have super broadband actually take it. If you do a big FTTP rollout to a town and only one in seven take it up you've then spent an utter fortune replacing a copper network that was perfectly adequate for the demands of six out of seven customers.

      I get why telcos are wary - history shows that every single instance of gung-ho network build-out results in bankruptcy if privately funded. Virgin are only profitable now because they bought up their assets in fire sales and had the debt written off. I don't think the price the market is willing to pay for super broadband supports the investment required to deliver it - certainly not for FTTP.

      The other, significant, problem for ex-incumbents is that even if they're willing to take the risk the result is then indistinguishable from predatory pricing behaviour, which is illegal. How can a frisky young upstart take on a major, established player, with access to cheaper finance, better bargaining power with suppliers and massive scale efficiencies if that same incumbent is prepared to not make a return on their investment for twenty years or more? The price the incumbent sells into the market at might be twice the frisky upstart's cost of doing the same. If the regulator instructs the incumbent to sell at a higher price to give the newcomers a chance, no-one would buy it, so why bother building it?

      The problem with all of this is commercial, not technical. The return on investment for FTTP is too low and the risks too high for many former incumbents to want to play. The payback period is long which means continually falling prices and unforeseen regulatory changes increase that risk even further. After all, if there was free money laying around that the telcos were choosing to ignore other companies would be doing FTTP in a big way. In the UK, aside from BT, Virgin are best placed to offer FTTP to customers on their own network and seemingly they can't make the numbers work either. Britain has lots of competition and our prices are pretty low - which is great - but that environment makes investment decisions tough. The vast majority of broadband customers buy on price, not technology or speed or service.

  3. Simon Rockman

    I disagree. The most expensive bit is getting fibre into and around peoples houses.

    Simon

  4. Colin Miller

    Dynamic up/down ratio?

    Does G.fast allow the modem and DSLAM to change the up/down ratio? I.e. most of the time a home user will have 90% down, but if they start uploading a huge file the modem will notice that it its window is increasing, and then ask the DSLAM to swap to 10% down, 90% up?

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: Dynamic up/down ratio?

      Kind of. It's not dynamic so if you switch from Skype to You Tube it won't change the ratio but it can be changed by the operator, in DSL it's baked into the chipsets and cannot be changed.

  5. Martin-73 Silver badge

    One bit I don't get

    'powered over the lines from the modem'... come again? Is this on a separate pair from the POTS then, which is powered from the exchange? If so, many houses WILL need new wiring, as a lot of stuff even dating to the 60s only has a single pair feeding the building. It'd make much more sense to use a pair from the exchange (or cab) to feed power to the modem

    1. Terry Barnes

      Re: One bit I don't get

      There's no need to have a constant metallic path all the way to the exchange with FFTx. I think in the UK there is one today, but it's not essential. In ancient telecoms terms, it's Central Battery (CB) versus Local Battery.

      If the intention longer term is to reduce the amount of copper in the network and push fibre further and further out to customers, installing new kit that needs to be exchange powered over copper is probably a bad move.

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