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FTTH Worldwide Market Growth Forecast

Heavy Reading has released its first-ever worldwide forecast covering fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology and network deployments as part of a new report on the FTTH sector.

"The transition from copper to fiber access networks is now well underway and will result in the replacement of most copper networks over the next two decades," notes Graham Finnie, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Although DSL offers a temporary fix to the ever-growing consumer demand for bandwidth, it will run out of options in the next three to five years, meaning that telcos must begin the transition to fiber soon."

Key findings of FTTH Worldwide Market and Technology Forecast, 2006-2011 include the following:

Total number of homes connected to fiber will grow from about 11 million at the end of 2006 to about 86 million at the end of 2011, representing about 5 percent of all households worldwide. This growth will be dominated by Asia, where the number of connected households will grow to 59 million by the end of 2011. The rest of the subscriber base at 2011 will be split equally between the Americas (mainly the U.S.) and the EMEA region.

HDTV, next-generation gaming, personal video, and digital photography will all contribute to the emergence of a new broadband "gold standard" of 100 Mbit/s symmetric over the next 12 to 24 months. Although VDSL2 networks can in principle provide such capacity, this is at the limit of copper�s capabilities and will encourage telcos to begin the transition to FTTH.

Municipal networks, often built in association with local utilities, will play an important role in stimulating fiber deployment in European and the U.S. However, these networks are unlikely to dominate the market, despite their strong appeal. Incumbent telcos will be the biggest providers in most countries by virtue of their ownership of existing ducts, deployed fiber, customers, engineering know-how, and financial muscle.

EPON is the solution of choice in most Asian countries and will dominate overall deployment, but GPON will dominate in the U.S. Active Ethernet and EPON have some support in the U.S., but will remain minority technologies. In Europe, most municipal and utility builders are opting for active Ethernet, which will make it a more important technology there.

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