AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — A group of technology and telecoms companies, including Spanish giant Telefonica, joined forces on Tuesday to boost the Internet speeds of copper telephone wires to almost equal that of fiber-optic cable.
“It will allow telecoms companies to provide high-bandwidth services cost-effectively … rather than replacing all copper wires with fibre-optics up to the subscriber premises,” said Zvika Weinshtock, vice president marketing for broadband access at Israeli telecoms equipment maker ECI Telecom.
The new technology, dubbed Dynamic Spectrum Management (DSM), promises speeds to rival those of fibre-optic networks, much faster than currently available on broadband — DSL.
Telecoms operators in Europe and the United States have pledged to invest tens of billions of euros (dollars) by extending their fiber optic core network closer to homes and boost the speed of their networks.
Faster speeds are needed, because even with the latest DSL broadband technology, called VDSL2, operators struggle to offer high quality television and video-on-demand services.
Lower cost, faster speed
In the United States, Verizon plans to invest $22.9 billion on a new fiber network right to homes and businesses to compete with the multimedia offerings from cable TV carriers.
AT&T is also building a fiber network but its lines will not cover the last mile to the home.
Deutsche Telekom is considering bringing the fibre network directly to the consumer, but operators and analysts estimate wiring a household with “fiber-to-the-home” costs between 1,000 euros to 1,500 euros.
The companies developing the new technology will form a consortium to develop DSM, which they expect to provide reliable, fiber-optic-like rates over the existing telephone copper wire infrastructure.
“DSM is expected to have a significant impact on the market, as the DSL industry is looking for solutions beyond VDSL2 to increase subscriber broadband rates (speeds),” the new consortium said in a statement.
A senior executive at French telecoms equipment maker Alcatel, which is one of the main providers of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services equipment and software to telecoms operators, said on Tuesday that some carriers had delayed the launch of IPTV services to customers, partly due to technical glitches.
“Yes, we have seen in a number of cases, roll-outs that were slower than some service providers had anticipated … Everybody is learning a lesson. They did not focus enough on the integration of the underlying infrastructure,” said Michel Rahier, head of Alcatel’s fixed communications division.
ECI Telecom will be leading the consortium. Other members, apart from Telefonica, include Israeli operator Bezeq and technology firms Actelis, RIT Technologies and Amethist.
Academic institutions, including the Technion, Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University, will also work on the project which is part financed by the Chief Scientist Office of the Israeli Government.