Speed limits: California, Nevada get 45 Mbps U-verse; Ikanos copper tests hits 300 Mbps

The effort to use existing copper infrastructure to deliver higher speed broadband to residential and small business customers--and effectively keep up with the cables--was boosted this week when AT&T (NYSE: T) said it was finally starting to deliver 45 Mbps U-verse broadband, and Ikanos said that it's already proven it can deliver 300 Mbps over 200 meters using existing VDSL chipsets.

AT&T has been promising higher speeds as part of its multibillion-dollar Project VIP initiative to upgrade and enhance its wireline infrastructure, wringing more speed from existing copper and delivering U-verse services to 57 million customers. Yesterday the carrier said the first customers to get the higher speeds--45 Mbps down, 6 Mbps up, in this instance--would be in California and Nevada, but that the concept and the speed would spread nationwide.

Chipmaker Ikanos, meanwhile, offered a glimpse of the future by achieving an aggregate throughput of 300 Mbps over a standard single pair copper cable using existing VDSL chipsets and covering 200 meters.

AT&T said it would charge an introductory rate of $49.95 for the higher speeds for up to 24 months for subscribers who bundled the broadband service with qualifying TV and voice services. The carrier also said current U-verse Internet residential customers are eligible to upgrade their package and get $10 off for the next 12 months.

"The vast majority of our customers bundle U-verse Internet and TV because it gives them a better experience with faster speeds that fit their needs at an affordable price," said Mel Coker, chief marketing officer for AT&T Solutions in a press release.

The 45 Mbps speeds should be only the start for U-verse subscribers who want to go faster. AT&T has said its plans are to upgrade U-verse up to 100 Mbps in the future.

That's about a third of the way that Ikanos went with its test. And Ikanos is 30 percent of the way to where ITU's G.fast initiative expects to be in the next year or so. Each speed, though, is relevant for its time and place and consumers shouldn't have to wait, said Kourosh Amiri, vice president of marketing at Ikanos, in a press release.

"While G.fast promise of gigabit performance is still on the horizon, our ability to demonstrate hundreds of megabits for lower-port-count short-loop configurations using our currently shipping CPE and CO silicon establishes Ikanos as the leader in the 'pre-G.fast' era as we enable telcos to remain competitive against mounting pressure from MSOs and continue to enhance the consumer DSL broadband experience," Amiri said.

For more:
- AT&T issued this press release
- and Ikanos issued this press release

Related articles:
ITU puts G.fast on track for 2014 approval
Ikanos pushes 300 Mbps through single pair cable in 'significant step towards G.fast'
Alcatel-Lucent, Telekom Austria demonstrate 1 Gbps over copper in G.fast trial