blog Those who were closely observing Malcolm Turnbull’s debate with Business Spectator publisher Alan Kohler yesterday (you can watch the recording here) will have noted Turnbull’s reference to an emerging standard known as G.Fast. Turnbull made the somewhat controversial claim, according to ZDNet (which has an excellent article on the subject here) that G.Fast could eventually spur 1Gbps speeds over FTTN networks. But is G.Fast a reality, or another broadband pipe dream? To our rescue comes Informa analyst Tony Brown, who has published an extensive analysis on the subject on the website of the Sydney Morning Herald. Brown writes (we recommend you click here for the full article) that there are limitations to the technology, but that ultimately, it could be a very valid part of the NBN rollout. One of his points:
“For NBN Co a G.Fast deployment in MDU’s would be an advantage because the company could then connect MDU subscribers to the NBN without going through the tortuous process of gaining permission to enter premises from building owners and landlords – let alone scheduling installation appointments with occupants.”
Given the continual problems which NBN Co is facing with multi-dwelling units (problems which, you may recall, were also suffered by Telstra and Optus with relation to their HFC cable rollouts), there is a growing body of commentary calling for the company to at least consider doing something like fibre to the basement and copper to individual apartments, and it’s hard to disagree with this logic. Turnbull’s right, to a certain extent, and so is Brown — if you can get fibre to the basement of apartment buildings, the copper inside those buildings is usually able to do a decent job of getting broadband to individual apartments, with the aid of standards such as G.Fast. And if needs replacing, there are existing mechanisms for that to happen too (ours did a while back, and the landlord just called Telstra to replace the copper). But we suspect this argument is not going to go down well with those who insist on fibre everywhere, all the time. It’s a tough world for any copper argument to get support, right now.