The sale of VDSL2 vectored lines passed the 5 million milestone in March 2014, according to communications equipment firm Alcatel Lucent. Telcos such as Bezeq in Israel, KPN in the Netherlands, Telecom Argentina, Telecom Italia, TE Data in Egypt and NBN Co in Australia now use vectoring to reduce crosstalk and increase downstream speeds on their VDSL2 networks.
The announcement also marked the point at which vectored VDSL2 line sales surpassed their non-vectored counterparts. Operators are keen to utilize their legacy xDSL networks to their full potential and in doing so, are opting for vectoring to be able to offer high-speed broadband services with speeds of up to 70 Mbps, capable of supporting high bandwidth services such as HDTV, online gaming and multiple VoD streams.
There are currently 20 commercial deployments of VDSL2 vectoring systems which use Alcatel Lucent technology, and this is set to increase in the future with trials taking place in countries such as Canada, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, UK, Sweden and Russia.
This announcement comes hot on the heels of the commercial launch of the world’s first nationwide vectored VDSL2 network by Belgacom in February 2014. Belgacom was able to overcome the regulatory issues that have become synonymous with vectored systems, but challenges remain for other markets. The Belgian regulator BIPT withdrew Belgacom’s sub-loop unbundling obligation on the grounds that it would render vectoring ineffective and instead Belgacom offers vectored lines to its competitors on a wholesale basis. Despite this outcome, the impact of such control on local competition is a concern for many regulatory bodies and ISPs.
Other companies in other countries are keen to implement vectoring on their networks since it is a very cost effective way of offering services in direct competition with those supported by fibre and DOCSIS 3. Also, the time-to-market is relatively short, so operators can offer high-speed services to their customers using their legacy copper networks while simultaneously rolling out more long-term FTTP programs.
The main issue for further vectoring deployments will continue to be regulatory, and in other countries the path to a nationwide VDSL2 vectored network will not be as smooth as that experienced by Belgacom. Deutsche Telecom has already showed signs of stalling following the delay of its vectoring deployment from 2013 to late 2014.