With 730,000 additional Gigabit connections, Vodafone has for the time being completed the expansion of the cable network in 13 of 16 federal states. 22 million of the households reached with the cable network can book speeds of up to 1 Gbit / s in the downlink. There are already plans for up to 2 Gbit / s in the downlink and DOCSIS 4.0.
With the completion of the current expansion measures, the Vodafone network will have 22 million gigabit households. The company has set itself the goal of connecting 25 million households by the end of 2022. To achieve this, Vodafone now wants to concentrate on the expansion in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. The three remaining federal states are areas from the acquisition of Unitymedia in September 2019.
Development of gigabit households (Image: Vodafone)
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Since autumn 2018, Vodafone has upgraded its own network with network elements in accordance with the DOCSIS 3.1 cable standard and can thus offer customers a maximum downlink of up to 1 Gbit / s and an uplink of up to 50 Mbit / s. As the company explains, more than half of the new customers opted for a connection with 400 Mbit / s or more in the first quarter of the current financial year. Every third new customer chose the highest speed of 1 Gbit / s in the downlink.
100 Mbit / s come in the uplink
In the future, higher speeds can be expected in the cable network. As Vodafone explained in July, the first step is to double the uplink speed from 50 Mbit / s to 100 Mbit / s. This is possible because Vodafone also changes for the uplink from DOCSIS 3.0 to 3.1, which is currently only used for the downlink. Vodafone wants to complete the necessary preparatory work in the network by the end of this year and offer the faster uplink to customers next year. However, there is not yet a more specific time window than the middle to the end of next year.
Vodafone plans with 2 Gbit / s and DOCSIS 4.0
With DOCSIS 3.1, there is still room for improvement in the downlink. In theory, speeds of up to 5 Gbit / s are possible, depending on the expansion stage, but Vodafone plans to double this to 2 Gbit / s in the coming year. The first field tests with the faster downlink are already being carried out. Vodafone wants to take the next but one step with DOCSIS 4.0. This should enable speeds of 10 Gbit / s for the downlink and 6 Gbit / s for the uplink in the future. Vodafone expects the first pilot projects with the new standard within the next two years as soon as the first prototypes of new hardware are available.
Update 11/18/2020 4:29 p.m.
Vodafone today presented current figures for the gigabit expansion, especially in the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg, which were formerly served by Unitymedia. In the meantime, a total of 420,000 connections have been added there, with 300,000 most of them in North Rhine-Westphalia, which now has 4.8 million gigabit connections. In the coming year, the expansion in North Rhine-Westphalia is to be completed with 5.6 million households. In Baden-Württemberg and Hesse, the number of gigabit-capable cable connections is currently 3.2 (+100,000) and 1.5 million (+20,000).
Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter reaffirmed at today’s announcement that the upload speed in the gigabit tariff will “soon” be doubled from 50 to 100 Mbit / s, and there was a renewed commitment for DOCSIS 4.0 with up to 10 Gbit / s in the downlink and up to 6 Gbit / s in the uplink. As soon as the first prototypes of the new hardware generation are available, Vodafone is planning the first field tests. These should take place within the next two years.