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Adtran: Vectored VDSL Is Ready, $200-375/home
Thursday, 20 December 2012 04:42

Adtran Ready to support multiple competitors sharing bundle. Jochen Homann, German regulator, is looking for vectoring “procedures to use vectoring even without an exclusive right to the control box.” With 12-20M lines planned at Deutsche Telekom, Adtran’s positioning their product as compatible with a multi-provider system. Multi-DSLAM “can work if the same vendor provides both DSLAMs”, Ryan McCowen of Adtran notes.There’s “no technical reason why you can’t do that,” he adds. “We and other vendors are looking at it.”

    Adtran is successor to NokiaSiemens, hence a contender for the German contract. Huawei is hopeful as well, already committed to supplying 3.5M vectored lines to FastWeb that will cooperate with Telecom Italia’s network. Alcatel and Deutsche Telkom initially claimed that multi-DSLAM was impossible; DT’s “Highlander” network would have to be exclusive. Homann is actively looking for alternatives.

    Adtran is also facing off against Alcatel for some of the 3.5M additional lines of AT&T’s Project U-Verse. AT&T is challenged because the remaining U-Verse lines are fill-ins and AT&T wants compatibility with what’s already installed. So Adtran’s “system-level” vectoring becomes attractive.


    Ryan McCowen of Adtran supports both VDSL and GPON equipment, so was ready with an answer about the relative costs of fiber home versus fiber/DSL. Fiber/DSL (FTTN) in a typical U.S. suburban market requires running only 15% as many miles as fiber to individual homes. The result is the total cost is 20-25% as high. While he didn’t specify the fiber home costs, Verizon’s figure is $1,000-1,300. Stephen Conroy of Australia tells me the cost of fiber home to the National Broadband Network’s 9% of Australia is $1100-1500/home.

    Applying McCowan’s 20-25% guideline to those ranges yields a cost of $200-375. Deutsche Telecom’s own figure is slightly higher. Teresa Mastrangelo reports DT estimates a “FTTH rollout, in its most efficient manner, costs 1000€ per household, while FTTC + VDSL2 vectoring will cost between 250€ to 350€ per household – a 70 percent reduction in CAPEX.” This corresponds to press reports of DT budgeting $400 per home. AT&T’s figure is somewhat less.

    The average cost of a VDSL DSLAM port is $40 worldwide, brought down by fierce Chinese competition. Alcatel wants to charge double for vectored gear. The bll of materials is only a few bucks higher but they (and everyone else including Adtran) have significant R&D to recover. Outside enclosures are costly and there’s a fair amount of labor re-connecting all the lines. Add all that to the need in most places to run fiber to the neighborhood and the costs add up.

   Wilson & Ryan’s comments came in a well-organized webinar at http://bit.ly/UHqGkq. It’s a useful but technical introduction to vectoring from a company that’s been working on the technology for years and actively contributed to the standard. Ryan acknowledges what Paul Spruyt of Alcatel also observes: the standards body is doing nothing on multiple DSLAM/provider system. But DT may need that to appease the regulator.

   Time for ITU standards to catch up to real world needs.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 December 2012 00:26