FTTH Activity Predicted To Grow By 2017

February 2013, Vol. 68 No. 2

Direct investment in North American fiber to the home (FTTH) deployment will grow to $4.7 billion annually by 2017 or a total of $18 billion during the next five years, according to the market research firm RVA LLC.

The firm, which has tracked the deployment of all-fiber networks for more than a decade, predicts that annual revenues derived by FTTH providers from ultra-high bandwidth applications and services beyond the “triple play” will reach $4 billion by 2017 or $9 billion cumulatively over the next five years.

In a more recent report, North American Fiber To The Home and Advanced Broadband Review and Forecast to 2017, RVA noted that the overall picture for FTTH growth in North America looks positive, despite the impact on deployment that is often associated with wind-down of the ARRA broadband stimulus program, changes to the FCC’s Universal Service program and lingering uncertainties in the overall economy.

Initial North American FTTH growth was fueled primarily by one large visionary provider, Verizon, supplemented by hundreds of small providers, mostly in the United States. By contrast, the next five years will feature a diverse group of small to large providers each contributing a part to growth.

One other change is central to RVA’s forecast. To this point, most FTTH has resulted from overbuilding in existing home developments. In the next five years, greenfield (new home development) FTTH will become a major contributor as well.

Greenfield FTTH was initially not that important because there were over 1.5 million existing lots with a copper infrastructure that had to be used up. Even for new developments, it took time for developers and providers to modify their practices. Now however, many of the old copper lots are finally getting worked off, a high percentage of both new lots and new MDUs are going to fiber infrastructure, fiber costs have decreased and housing starts are again increasing.

RVA also predicts that the number of high bandwidth users with 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps or even 1,000 Mbps (1 Gigabit) of capacity will now grow rapidly, and is becoming an important market niche for application, software and programming developers. RVA surveys indicate that consumers indeed have unique desires for apps and services given higher capacity advanced broadband.