Liberty Global on Wednesday said it is bullish on the future of all current broadband access technologies and said that the home will come to represent the new bottleneck in the network.
Despite the hype around fibre, "copper remains a very, very strong and viable access technology," said Balan Nair, CTO of Liberty Global, in a keynote presentation at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.
"The amount of innovation coming to copper is incredible," he continued, highlighting recent developments including vectored VDSL and G.fast, which can deliver up to 1-Gbps connection speeds over short distances.
"Copper has a long, long life ahead of it," he said.
Nair also talked up the potential of DOCSIS 3.1, which promises speeds of 10 Gbps on the downlink and 1 Gbps on the uplink.
"It's much more spectrally efficient," he said, predicting that DOCSIS 3.1 solutions will start to be introduced by the end of 2014 and for commercial deployments to get underway by the end of 2016.
While the future of legacy access technologies might well be rosy – as far as Nair is concerned at least – problems start to arise when the network reaches the customer's home.
"WiFi is king" when it comes to providing broadband coverage in the home, but the WiFi standards that are most widely-deployed today limit maximum speeds "to around 60 Mbps-70 Mbps", Nair said.
It will be up to five years before more advanced standards like 802.11ac have proliferated, he said, by which time Liberty Global expects to offer broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps in some markets.
"The bottleneck becomes the home," he concluded.