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ITU readies new 1 Gbps broadband standard

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has created a new broadband standard called G.fast which promises to deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps over existing copper telephone lines from early 2014.

There is one caveat however – these superfast download speeds can only be delivered up to a distance of 250 metres, so will only be useful for eliminating the expense of installing fibre between the street exchange cabinet and people’s homes.

Meeting in Geneva recently, ITU-T Study Group 15 agreed first-stage approval for the new standard, which specifies methods to minimise the risk of G.fast equipment interfering with broadcast services such as FM radio, paving the way for G.fast to be approved in early 2014.

G.fast is expected to be deployed by service providers wanting to provide speeds comparable to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), enabling flexible upstream and downstream speeds to support bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming Ultra-HDTV movies, uploading high-resolution video and photo libraries to cloud-based storage, and communicating via HD video.

“G.fast is an important standard for service providers globally,” said Tom Starr, chairman of ITU-T Study Group 15, Working Party 1, which oversees the G.fast effort. “Service providers will be able to deliver fibre-like performance more quickly and more affordably than with any other approach.”

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