Broadband Forum points to harnessing copper for fibre benefits

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Broadband Forum’s latest technical report has highlighted how fibre-based access could be provided using existing copper infrastructure instead of installing fibre to end-users’ premises.

This, says the organisation, could help ensure that homes and businesses have access to faster, more reliable broadband connectivity by harnessing the copper infrastructure. 

The Fiber Access Extension over Existing Copper Infrastructure (TR-419) report shows how this method could be used where FTTP may not be economically or physically viable. Instead, fibre to the extension point (FTTep) lets service providers deploy fibre-grade services by leveraging the last metres of copper to extend the fibre network without lowering quality when compared to complete FTTH networks.

The TR-419 report extends the forum’s previous TR-301 which defines functionality for ITU-T G.fast distribution point units. It describes a number of use cases and migration options that can be considered as representative deployment scenarios for the operators choosing to implement a FTTep solution, and focuses on architectural, management and operational aspects of PON fibre access extension over different copper underlying technologies such as G.fast, G.hn Access and MoCA Access.

The report details how more economic deployments, less likely to be hampered by extensive construction work, can be realised by service providers and telecom operators by integrating complementary copper technologies such as Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) Access, ITU-T G.fast, or ITU-T G.hn-based Access and reusing existing phone line and coaxial cables. 

Herman Verbueken, Broadband Forum’s work area director of the physical layer transmission work area said: ‘Fibre network technology promises multi-gigabit broadband services, and investment is only set to grow as the industry looks to enhance businesses’ and end-users’ connected experience. With higher costs associated with installing fibre directly to the premises, by adopting the FTTep architecture operators and providers will be able to deliver ubiquitous connectivity to all corners of customers’ homes and commercial premises.

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