The VDSL2 technology to be tried for fibre-copper setups in France

Articles – French language

France Télécom va tester le VDSL2 –

My comments

Most next-generation broadband deployments in France’s competitive Internet market are either FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) fibre but Numericable are running with what is called an “FTTLA” fibre-to-the-cabinet setup. This is where the copper run to the customers is a short-run coaxial cable similar to existing cable-modem setups and is based on DOCSIS 3.0 technology.

On the other hand. VDSL2 telephone-line-based technology is successfully used in Germany and the UK for the copper run in fibre-to-the-cabinet setups in those locations. Now France Telecom are intending to try it in the highly-competitive French market for cheaper fibre-copper next-generation setups. This will most likely be used as another method of covering sparsely-populated outer-urban or regional areas where the cost to deploy would be prohibitive for a full-fibre rollout.

The reason they are running with this technology is its ability to provide a “fat pipe” over telephone cable for short runs. For example, as I have seen from the article, an 800m run of telephone cable could yield a download link speed of 25Mb/s on ADSL2 technology, but could yield 100Mb/s for the same distance. Similarly a longer run which could typically achieve a link speed of 1Mbps under ADSL2 could achieve 42Mbps with VDSL2.

As I have already known, these rates are dependent on the line condition between the street cabinet or exchange and the customer’s premises. Of course, this would be delivered under sub-loop unbundling which would be part of the call for a competitive Internet market in France. Similarly, there would have to be competitive access to those street cabinets so that competing Internet providers like Free could run their fibre backbone to the newly-created VDSL2 infrastructure and reach these markets.

Personally, I would like to see any fibre-copper deployment scenarios involving rural properties like farms be looked at so that there is a proof of feasibility for bringing next-generation broadband to the farmhouse door in a reliable manner.

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