APAC Streaks Ahead in FTTH
The Asia/Pacific region is by far the most important for the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) sector, and is likely to remain so for some years to come, according to a new Heavy Reading report, "FTTH Review & Five-Year Forecast: The Road to Next-Gen PON." (See Fiber, Fiber Everywhere….)
The report's author, Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie, notes that "Japan and South Korea have evolved into the first major mature markets," with Taiwan "not too far behind."
As a result, Asia/Pacific currently accounts for about 80 percent of the 36 million homes connected to fiber (FTTH) or via a basement fiber terminal (FTTB -- fiber-to-the-building) at the end of 2008, with Japan accounting for about 40 percent of the global total all by itself.
And now, with government backing, relatively low buildout costs, favorable housing development trends (new builds and multi-dwelling units), and the "enormous popularity of the Internet" helping to drive demand, countries such as Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore could see "rapid progress over the next five years." (See Quigley Lands Major FTTP Role, Telekom Malaysia CEO Talks FTTx, IPTV, Telekom Malaysia Faces WiMax Challenge, and Singapore Makes FTTH Strides .)
Then there's China, which "will be a massive opportunity, rapidly eclipsing other markets, as it has done in other telecom markets, such as mobile telephony," writes Finnie. "Fiber is already ubiquitous in Hong Kong, but other Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, will see fast rollout over the next two to three years," he adds. (See AlcaLu Lands GPON, 3G Deals in China, Ericsson Scores GPON Wins in China, Shanghai Switches to Fiber Diet, and China Set for DSL, FTTH Boom.)
There's even the prospect of "some significant builds" in India, which currently has very low broadband penetration, notes the analyst. (See Indian Telecom Services Worth $8.2B in Q1 , BSNL Begins FTTH Rollout, and Ericsson Does FTTH in India.)
One factor helping to keep Asia/Pacific at the forefront of the FTTH world is that "there is a strong appetite for FTTH among incumbents, which is not generally matched" in the other two main regions, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and the Americas. (See FTTH Concerns for Europe and FTTH Europe: Slow Growth Forecast.)
Indeed, the difference between some markets regarded as economically mature is quite staggering. "Already, a ten-year gap in fiber development has opened up between fiber-rich countries, such as Japan, and European nations, including Germany and the U.K. -– and this gap could widen," writes Finnie. (See BT Ramps Its FTTx Plans.)
As a result of all these factors, Asia/Pacific will still be the dominant FTTH region during the next five years. According to Finnie's projections, Asia/Pacific will account for almost two thirds of the world's 129 million FTTH/FTTB connections at the end of 2013, with the Americas and EMEA splitting the difference. (See Spain Set for FTTH Surge.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading