Ethernet in the First Mile deployments on the rise, say analysts

28 August 2003 Scottsdale, AZ Lightwave -- The worldwide number of residential Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) subscribers will rise from 2.1 million in 2002 to 23.9 million in 2007, with most of these subscribers residing in the Asia Pacific region, reports high-tech market research firm In-Stat/MDR.

28 August 2003 Scottsdale, AZ Lightwave -- The worldwide number of residential Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) subscribers will rise from 2.1 million in 2002 to 23.9 million in 2007, with most of these subscribers residing in the Asia Pacific region, reports high-tech market research firm In-Stat/MDR. Since the end of 2000, there has been growing momentum for the use of Ethernet in the residential subscriber access network, thanks to Ethernet's relatively low cost, simplicity, flexibility, ubiquity, and high bandwidth.

Defined as the use of the Ethernet protocol in conjunction with either copper or fiber to provide a broadband service link between the service provider's Central Office (CO) and a subscriber's residence, EFM is currently being standardized by the IEEE 802.3ah Task Force, with completed standards for three physical layer topologies--point-to-point over copper, point-to-multi-point over fiber, and point-to-point over fiber--and a common Operations, Administration, and Management (OAM) protocol expected in the first half of 2004. A parallel effort to develop market awareness for the new technology is being undertaken by the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance (EFMA), an industry association composed of twenty-four silicon suppliers, equipment vendors, and service providers from the US and various other countries.

According to the report, EFM over copper accounted for 86% of the market in 2002 and will account for the majority of deployments throughout the forecast period. That said, EFM over Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) should compose 29% of deployments by 2007.

Residential EFM is, currently, mostly an Asia Pacific phenomenon and will largely remain so over the next five years. Reasons for this include heavy reliance on Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs), short local loop lengths, low labor costs, appropriate pro-active government support, and, particularly in the case of China, the need to deploy new infrastructure.

Europe will be the second largest market for EFM on a subscriber basis, with Scandinavia and Italy seeing particularly large deployments over the next five years. EFM deployment in the US will remain fairly limited and typically will be deployed by alternative service providers, such as municipalities, utilities, property developers, and independent telcos.

For more information about the report, "Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM): Provisioning Broadband on the Cheap," visit Instat/MDR's Web site at www.instat.com.

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