The Universal Service Commitment is something that to date appears to have been woefully neglected and the small percentage of people who have seen their cabinet enabled for VDSL2 but are too far from it to get any speed benefit have been left wondering what chance there is for improved speeds. A product description for the GEA-FTTC service that Openreach publish for communication providers and has just been updated has a lifeline for those who live a long way from their street cabinet and telephone exchange.
It appears that ADSL2+ with appropriate power masking may be deployed from the Openreach street cabinets alongside the existing VDSL2 services. Indications are that a maximum speed of 12 Mbps download (1.4 Mbps upload) would be used, and this should benefit those who are more than 2 km from the cabinet. VDSL2 should provider 24 Mbps or faster at a line length of 1km, but speeds drop away fairly quickly after that, while ADSL2+ will generally manage 6 to 8 Mbps over lines as long as 3.5km and should keep running all the way to 5.5km at speeds above 2 Mbps.
No indications on timescales or pricing, but with testing and specifications being outlined it is just a matter of time for more information to become available.
The price issue will be interesting as there are those who want a bit more speed, but do not want to pay the full £10 to £15 premium that VDSL2 commands, particularly when it might only deliver speeds in the 5 to 10 Mbps region, so a lower price point would be welcomed. The service looks to be presented as a GEA-ADSL2+ service, so in theory any provider utilising the GEA platform would be able to make use of the product.
Deploying ADSL2+ in this manner would be simpler if exchange based ADSL2+ was to cease operating, but we are some years away from that happening due to the popularity of LLU in the UK, but the power masking should ensure that the impact on existing services is minimal. It is believed that some 2% of cabinet based lines are longer than 1500 metres and thus in the prime zone to benefit from ADSL2+ delivered this way.