While their telco competitors roll out next-generation PON and 5G mobile access networks, cable multiple systems operators (MSOs) have a few broadband network tricks up their sleeves as well. And they’ll spend a significant amount of money deploy them, reaching $2 billion by 2023, says Dell’Oro Group in its new “Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast Report.”
“Global cable operators are investing heavily in Distributed Access Architectures [DAAs] to make their networks more efficient, offer premium bandwidth, and stay ahead of fiber-based competitors,” explained Jeff Heynen, who recently joined Dell’Oro Group as a research director in the broadband area. “Today’s investments in DAAs will prepare cable operators for a future of 10-Gbps services using a combination of extended spectrum DOCSIS, Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1, and, ultimately, fiber to the home.”
As the name implies, Distributed Access Architectures see cable operators removing functions from the headend and distributing them to nodes closer to the customer. The process invites virtualization. Meanwhile, cable MSOs are rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 to support 10 Gbps downstream over their hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) infrastructures. Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which will enable symmetrical 10 Gbps over HFC, is in development, with extended spectrum DOCSIS a promising way of creating more HFC network capacity. (Sister site Broadband Technology Report offers full coverage of these DOCSIS technologies.)
Rolling out all this technology will be expensive. Dell’Oro predicts that cable MSO network spending will increase from $1.5 billion this year to the $2 billion by 2023. This growth rate will exceed that of the spending on PON gear, the market research firm predicts. Within the PON realm, operators will deploy more XGS-PON than NG-PON2 as they look to enable 10-Gbps transmission on their fiber broadband networks. The lower cost of the former option will drive this trend, according to Dell’Oro.
Meanwhile, spending on copper-based broadband will continue to decline. The popularity of VDSL Profile 35b and Gfast will stem the tide somewhat. However, Dell’Oro reports it sees signs that Gfast’s momentum is slowing as more governments emphasize fiber in their broadband initiatives.
Dell’Oro’s “Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast Report” reviews the broadband access market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and port/unit shipments for cable, DSL, and PON equipment.
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