PhotoFor ultra-fast Internet, you need fiber, right? Wrong, say promoters of a technology called G.Fast, which is creating quite a bit of buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

G.Fast produces Google Fiber-like speeds over plain old copper telephone lines. Think of it as DSL on steroids. It's actually been around awhile but has not been widely deployed, a situation that appears to be about to change.

Among those displaying G.Fast applications at the CES is Israeli chipmaker Sckipio, which staged a demonstration showing download speeds of nearly 750 megabits per second on a standard phone line using one of its modems. Chances are that's about 50 times faster than the broadband you have coming into your home via fiber or coax.

One big advantage of G.Fast is that its upload and download speeds are roughly equivalent.

“Most DSL and cable broadband technologies are unable to provide a higher ratio of upload to download speeds — making it very challenging to deliver next generation consumer services,” said David Baum, CEO of Sckipio Technologies. “Since user-generated content has increasingly become important, having fast upload is critical and this is a big advantage of G.fast.”

Flight time

In a press release, Baum said that at today’s upload speeds, it’d take the average broadband subscriber over five hours to upload a 30-second full-resolution, GoPro 4K video to YouTube — the same amount of time it would take to fly from Los Angeles to New York City. With the G.fast solution from Sckipio, consumers could upload the same video in 2.5 minutes — less time than it would take to brew a cup of coffee, he said.

Besides the faster upload speeds, G.Fast could offer an alternative to your broadband company. It could offer faster speeds than cable, FiOS, or AT&T Uverse.

The question, of course, is whether telephone companies will want to deploy the technology and compete not only with cable companies but also with themselves.

Sckipio says they will, if only to enable consumers to upgrade their service so as to take full advantage of all the new technologies being displayed at CES this year. 

Baum says he expects G.Fast to begin showing up in the U.S. later this year. 


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