It is a truth universally acknowledged that journalists at a telecoms trade show will drink too much press room coffee and complain about the WiFi.
That was certainly the case at Broadband World Forum 2012, which took place in Amsterdam this week, albeit with an unusual twist: technically, there was no WiFi to complain about.
″I can't remember when I last plugged one of these in,″ my neighbour in the press area muttered as she battled with one of the half-dozen Ethernet cables available to us.
As the show progressed it became apparent to me that the lack of wireless was something of a metaphor for the show as a whole. A couple of years ago the mobile industry was starting to make its presence felt at BBWF. Mobile broadband featured on the agenda alongside copper, fibre, GPON and so on. But at BBWF 2012 you could have been forgiven for thinking that there was no such thing as wireless; the most attention it got was when conference attendees were asked to switch off their mobile phones at the start of the sessions.
″Don't forget mobile,″ when it comes to extending broadband to greater percentages of the population, said Sandro Dionisi, director of Telecom Italia Lab, before launching into a presentation on the potential of VDSL 2 plus vectoring to provide high-speed broadband services over copper.
Copper acceleration technologies were high on the agenda at the event, with vendors including Adtran, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent all making announcements that show vectoring is progressing towards commercial deployment.
Discussion among telcos suggests that we will see the first commercially-deployed system-level vectoring solutions in 2014. The telcos also made it clear that they see vectored VDSL as an interim step towards fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).
Vectored VDSL is the ″next step towards eventually FTTH coverage, but the 'eventually' will probably take decades,″ said Wim de Meyer, VP of business transformation at Belgacom, one operator that has made it clear it is taking vectoring seriously.
That operators currently sweating their copper assets have an end-goal of FTTH, albeit some way ahead, is good news for the FTTH Council, which presented new statistics on