As anyone who is stuck with only one high-speed broadband provider in their neighborhood knows, the state of competition for home Internet services in the United States is not very good. However, there’s a promising new technology that’s being developed that could give your cable provider a run for its money and will hopefully give you a second option that doesn’t involve praying for Google Fiber to roll into your city.
CNET reports that a new technology called G.fast debuted at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam this week and it promises to bring DSL into the 21st century with Google Fiber-like peak speeds of 1Gbps. And here’s the most intriguing part: ISPs can upgrade their DSL networks with G.fast without having to completely tear out their copper infrastructure and build a completely new network as they would have to do if they decided to build fiber networks.
“DSL upgrades have at least one big advantage: they’re an upgrade to networks that already exist,” writes CNET. “Much of the world doesn’t have cable-TV infrastructure at all, and still less of it has fiber-optic connections. Phone networks, though, are widely used, and covered about 422 million DSL subscribers globally in 2013, according to analyst firm IHS.”
So if you’ve written off DSL as a has-been technology that has no hope of keeping up with cable or fiber, hopefully this new breakthrough will breathe some fresh life into it. And more importantly, let’s hope that longtime DSL providers like Verizon and AT&T will adopt it and run it along their existing networks so more of us can have alternatives to Comcast and Time Warner Cable.