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IPTV to Drive Investment in Home Networking

The push by telecom carriers to deliver IPTV services is causing a massive shift in the home networking market, with telecom network operators poised to invest heavily in technologies that will distribute IPTV and other multimedia services throughout customer homes, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading.

"While early home networking initiatives were driven by consumers, the whole-home networking model envisioned by most service providers puts control of home network resources firmly in the hands of the network operators themselves," notes Rick Thompson, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst and author of the report. "This dramatic shift in perception will have huge and permanent ramifications for the entire home networking supply chain."

Key findings of the study include the following:

Reducing service providers' opex is a major driver for next-gen multimedia whole-home networking technology. "No new wires" is the mantra, as service providers attempt to increase the number of IPTV service installations per day by decreasing the time per installation. Increasing subscriber turn-up rates with the least possible opex is a primary metric for next-gen home networking.

2006 will be the critical year for multimedia whole-home networking vendors. With IPTV as a driving force, major equipment vendors are getting increasingly interested in residential CPE again. Industry action in 2005 presaged the future role of the home as the battleground for IPTV. Cisco's acquisition of Scientific-Atlanta and Alcatel's significant investment in 2Wire, both within the last six months, foreshadow what's to come.

Network operators expect to deploy a range of home networking technologies. There are many variables that will dictate the technology of choice for multimedia whole-home networking solutions, including factors such as existing wiring, building materials, construction details, range and throughput requirements, and sources of signal interference. Service providers interviewed by Heavy Reading for this report concur that they will need a "toolbox" of technology options to deploy depending on the specific customer premises requirements.

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