Broadband Speed to Jump 10-Fold

There was a time not so long ago when a T1 at 1.54 Mbps was enough
bandwidth for almost anyone. Not anymore.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has just ratified the VDSL2 (Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line 2) standard, which is intended to reach downstream and upstream rates of up to 100Mbps.

The current top ADSL standard reaches speeds of 10Mbps, with many U.S.-based DSL carriers offering residential customers DSL speeds of 3Mbps to 5Mbps.

The ITU expects that VDSL2 will allow DSL operators to offer a “super
triple play” of video, Internet and voice services that compete with
services offered by satellite and cable operators. They include HDTV, VoIP and videoconferencing.

Beyond its blazing speed, the VDSL2 standard is supposed to be interoperable with existing carrier DSL equipment, with service delivery still based on the ubiquitous standard copper telephone cable.

“This new standard is set to become an extremely important feature of the
telecommunications landscape, and is a landmark achievement for our members,
many of whom are relying on this recommendation to take their businesses to
the next level,” said Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the ITU Telecommunications
Standardization Sector, which is the study group responsible for the work.

According to a recent report by DSL Forum, a consortium of service providers and equipment manufacturers, there are now more than 100
million DSL subscribers worldwide.

In 2004 alone, 35.5 million new global
DSL subscribers were added to carriers, 16 million of whom were based in
North America.

The DSL Forum expects that with the new VDSL2 standard in
tow, speeds of 25Mbps will become available to most consumers with 100Mbps
available on short loops.

“With vendors’ implementation of this new ITU-T Recommendation, service
providers can offer even more high quality, advanced services using DSL
technology,” said Michael Brusca, chairman of the DSL Forum, in a statement. “It represents another essential element in the delivery of
universal broadband access for multiple applications in every region of the
world and demonstrates the continuing dynamic development of the
technology.”

Carriers appear to be jumping on the VDSL2 bandwagon already. Yesterday
BellSouth announced that it would be using VDSL2
technologies to upgrade the systems that it has installed over the last
decade.

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