Good Days Ahead for VDSL

Carl Weinschenk

There are several types of fiber infrastructures, including fiber-to-the-home, fiber-to-the-curb, fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-premises (FTTH, FTTC, FTTN and FTTP). Indeed, some folks just shorthand it all as fiber-to-the-money or fiber-to-the-revenue.

FTTH and FTTP are in their own class simply because a secondary conduit of data is not necessary. Others require a last mile-or, at least, last few yard-technology. AT&T's U-verse project, for instance, uses one of the two versions of very high bitrate digital subscriber line (VDSL) technology to reach from the neighborhood termination point to the home.

That's a good segueway into a post about VDSL. IHS iSuppli released a report this week that says that VDSL is thriving. Indeed, an adjective more than thriving may be in order. The firm said that the number of subscribers using the technology will grow from 15.6 million in 2009 to 60.1 million in 2014. The report said that 23.3 million VDSL users were added last year.

The report also discusses the VDSL semiconductor market as well. It is changing. Ikahnos has 55 percent of the market, which looks good until the fact that it had 75 percent a year ago is considered. Broadcom, Lantiq and Ralink are other VDSL chip vendors.

A report from the end of last year also showed good times ahead for VDSL. Dell'Oro Group's numbers, which focused on the third quarter of 2010, actually covered the entire spectrum of digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies. The worldwide assessment said that revenues were higher than the year-ago quarter for the first time in three years. The brief commentary in the press release twice cited the strength of VDSL as a driver of the overall positive results.

The numbers are born out by announcements. Late last year, TDS Telecom said that it will use VDSL2 technology to offer 25 Megabit per second (Mbps) downstream and 5 Mbps upstream in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The deployments are expected to reach 13 more states this year. In total, 150 networks will be impacted, according to DSL Reports.

In Holland, KPN extended its IPTV service to 302,000 subscribers late last year. That was almost 200,000 more than a year ago. Eighty percent of the population can get the service, and 69 percent can access the high definition version. The story says that the carrier uses both FTTH and VDSL approaches, but doesn't say which-or if both-are responsible for the rapid increase.

Because it has DSL in the title, VDSL can be mistakenly thought of as an old technology. That, clearly, is far from the truth as VDSL ramps up for a significant run of success.

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