KMI Looks at Fiber Markets

KMI Research publishes new market studies on worldwide fiber and cable markets and Indian fiber market

February 24, 2003

4 Min Read

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Beginning in mid-2001 and extending through 2002, fiber and cable manufacturers have had to confront the collapse of the telecom market, which has led to a steep decline in fiberoptic cable sales. The industry is meeting this challenge by shutting-down and “moth-balling” factories, consolidating facilities, and reducing staff. The result is a rapidly changing landscape for fiber and cable suppliers. KMI Research has tracked these changes and published them in the latest version of its annual report, Worldwide Markets for Optical Fiber and Fiberoptic Cable: Market Developments and Forecast (released December 2002). For example, the report shows that plant closings have reduced the number of fiber-manufacturing facilities from a peak of 65 in 2000 to 46 that were operational for at least part of 2002. Recent plant closings mean that the number of facilities could decrease again in 2003. Patrick Fay, lead author of the KMI report, noted that it’s not just the smaller facilities being closed down. He said, “Some of the larger market participants with fiber plants in different countries have decided to close one or more plants, consolidating company-wide production to fewer facilities. Some of the factories being closed had capacity of several million km.” Mr. Fay noted that the recent industry turmoil is revealed not only in capacity and production data, but also in the report’s assessment of installations, sales, inventories, prices, net imports and exports, and application and geographic segments. For example, he noted that worldwide fiberoptic cable sales dropped from $8.7 billion in 2001 to $3.5 billion in 2002, a decline he attributed to several factors, chiefly the steep decline in cable demand, and price erosion due to excess capacity as well as competition, and a change in the mix of applications. The shift in applications and its effect on the market is due mainly to the collapse of long-distance telecom markets, especially in the U.S. and W. Europe. In 2002, terrestrial (not submarine) long-distance applications used 12 million km of cabled fiber, down from 26 million km in 2001 and 36 million km in 2000. This segment largely used more expensive non-zero dispersion-shifted (NZDS) fiber, so the changing mix of applications has had a major impact on the market in terms of sales ($).In a separate release:Fiber deployment in India has surged over the past two years, according to a new KMI report, Single-mode Optical Fiber & Cable in India. Following India’s adoption of its “New Telecom Policy” in 1999, domestic demand for optical fiber and cable increased dramatically. As fiberoptic cable demand began to tumble in North America and Europe in late 2000, India was experiencing a boom. At the end of 1995, India had cumulatively installed 283,600 fiber-km. By the end of 2000, cumulative installations were 2.5 million fiber-km. By the end of 2002, cumulative installations had more than doubled to 6.7 million fiber-km. In 2002, India ranked fourth in global demand, just behind Japan, the United States, and China.India is not immune to the global boom and bust cycle in optical networks. As a result of the completion of major long-haul network builds, KMI projects that annual fiber deployment in India will start to decline in 2003. KMI projects a compound annual decline of 15% in fiberoptic cable deployment from 2003 to 2007, when cumulative deployment will reach 14.6 million fiber-km. Nevertheless, India will remain a strong component of global demand for fiber throughout the forecast period. Moreover, deployments for metro/access applications, which have been small, will grow sharply as India tries to achieve aggressive targets for increasing teledensity to average global levels. Over the next few years, fiberoptic equipment providers will find a healthy market for lighting new network segments and for upgrading old networks with higher-capacity systems to meet new traffic demands on Indian backbones.KMI’s Single-mode Optical Fiber & Cable in India tracks annual single-mode fiberoptic cable deployment by 13 major carriers in India from 2000 to planned installments in 2003. For each carrier, KMI estimates deployment by route-km, fiber count, and fiber-km for both long-distance backbones and metro/access applications. KMI also estimates optical fiber and cable production for the three major suppliers in India and outlines their efforts to boost capacity over the past three years. For more information and to view a full Table of Contents, please visit To order, please call Dorcie Sarantos at 401.243.8114 or visit

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