Qwest begins rollout of its faster VDSL2 networks

Major US telecommunications company Qwest Communications today launched its highest speed DSL Internet service, based on the VDSL2 standard and promising maximum downstream speeds up to 40 Mbps and upstream speeds of 20 Mbps.

The service is available today in Denver, Tucson, Salt Lake City, and The Twin Cities, and the company says it will continue to roll out the VDSL2 technology in 23 more markets in such states as New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

Qwest's new service packages are offered to customers with a qualifying home phone line and cost $99 a month for 40 Mbps/5 Mbps, and $109.99 for 40 Mbps/20 Mbps. Customers who already have a 7, 12, or 20 Mbps connection can upgrade to the lower tier for five additional dollars a month.

VDSL2 is the newest of the DSL standards, and was approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) almost four years ago. At the time of its approval the group said, "VDSL2 is seen by many operators as the ideal accompaniment to a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout, where fiber optic lines are used to link large premises like office or apartment blocks to the PSTN, and ordinary copper cables used within the building to connect tenants or residents to high-speed services."

It lets operators offer triple-play services such as HDTV over IP and VoIP over the existing copper plant. While it is a relatively inexpensive upgrade for the provider, they still must build a distributed network with smaller nodes that sit typically less than 2000 meters away from end users. This is because VDSL2 degrades quickly as it moves away from the fiber pipeline. Someone close to the source could have a much higher theoretical speed than someone 5,000 feet away. Swedish Telecommunications company Ericsson notes that one of the most important aspect of VDSL2 is that it uses Ethernet as multiplexing technology in the first mile, eliminating ATM in the first mile and simplifying the access architecture into an end-to-end Ethernet access architecture that uses virtual local area networks (VLAN) as the service-delivery mechanism across the entire access network.

The standard is DSL's response to Cable's DOCSIS 3.0, though it is considered much cheaper to deploy and generally slower. Qwest and AT&T are the only two major telecommunications companies to align with it, but AT&T has delayed its VDSL2 trials since 2007. Time Warner, Comcast, and Cox all have planned DOCSIS 3.0 deployments.

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