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Cable MSOs Investing in New Infrastructure

Demand for broadband access to the Internet and digital video pay-TV services continues to drive new infrastructure investment. Infonetics Research released the fourth quarter (4Q09) edition of its cable modem termination system (CMTS) and Edge quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) hardware and subscribers report.

"True to form, operators in North America, particularly in the U.S., spent what was left of their equipment budgets in the fourth quarter of 2009, giving a year-end boost to CMTS and edge QAM vendors," said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband and video at Infonetics Research.

Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and Charter all acquired more downstream capacity by adding more CMTS ports, and Time Warner Cable continued its major upgrade to switched digital video, which helped bolster edge QAM revenue.

"Over the last 5 years, ARRIS grew its share of the worldwide CMTS market from 18.6 percent in 2005 to 42.9 percent in 2009, while Cisco's share declined from 54.4 percent to 38.4 percent, with ARRIS taking the lead from Cisco for the first time in 2009. Meanwhile, Motorola maintained a relatively even keel over the same period, increasing its CMTS revenue but losing a few points of share to ARRIS as well," adds Heynen.

Highlights of the Infonetics market study include:

- Worldwide CMTS and edge QAM vendor revenue increased 22 percent to $363 million in 4Q09 from 3Q09, led by sequential gains by the three major players in the market, ARRIS, Cisco, and Motorola.

- Cisco posted the strongest gains in North American CMTS revenue for the last 2 quarters.

- Worldwide CMTS revenue was down 10.7 percent in 2009 (2008 was a record year for CMTS deployments), while edge QAMs ticked up 6.4 percent for the year.

- Together, CMTS and edge QAM sales totaled $1.24 billion in 2009.

- BigBand had a big quarter in edge QAM shipments, and had passed a total of 33 million homes with its switched digital video solution by the end of the fourth quarter, an increase of 5 million homes from 3Q09.

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