North American FTTH homes pass 2 million mark

OCTOBER 4, 2007 By Stephen Hardy -- The number of North American homes served by optical fiber reached 2.142 million, according to figures released yesterday by Michael Render of RVA Market Research.

OCTOBER 4, 2007 By Stephen Hardy -- The number of North American homes served by optical fiber reached 2.142 million, according to figures released yesterday by Michael Render of RVA Market Research (search for RVA) during the closing keynote session of the FTTH Conference.

The number of North American homes passed by FTTH infrastructure now exceeds 9.55 million, while the number of homes to which FTTH service is being marketed is just under 8 million, Render revealed.

While a joint TIA/FTTH Council press release issued yesterday implied these figures were for the U.S. only, Render confirmed late yesterday afternoon that the numbers included all of North America. However, he pointed out that the U.S. accounts for the overwhelming majority of FTTH activity within the continent.

Verizon, not surprisingly, is responsible for the lion's share of North American FTTH deployments; Render says his research shows the carrier has connected 1.44 million homes, approximately 69% of the total North American number. Render says Verizon is joined by 369 other service providers in the North American FTTH market. Of these, other ILECs account for 16.4% of connected homes, CLECs 6.3%, CLEC/developers 5.4%, and municipalities 3.5%.

These non-RBOC providers enjoy an average take rate of 51.8%. The overall take rate for FTTH in North America is 26.8%, a number Render expects will increase as Verizon continues to shift from passing homes to marketing to them.

In the U.S., FTTH subscriber totals increased 112% over the past year, making it the fastest-growing major market in the world. Japan's growth over the past year was 55% and Europe's 35%, Render says. The U.S. market offers plenty of room for growth, as Render says the current FTTH subscriber totals represent only 1.9% of the addressable market.

Meanwhile, FTTH Council North America President Joe Savage expressed optimism yesterday that Canadian activity will soon represent more than a small fraction of Render's current totals. He pointed to the upcoming roll out Telus plans as an example. Sheldon Sitter, GPON build program manager for the carrier, told attendees during the conference that Telus, which operates primarily in the western half of the country, expects to begin deploying FTTH infrastructure in greenfield applications this year. The carrier will address overbuild scenarios "where it makes sense," he added. As Sittler's title implies, Telus will deploy a GPON infrastructure; while Sittler said that a final determination of equipment suppliers has not been made, his presentation showed photographs of his technicians working with Siemens gear.

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