Fiber access market gains momentum, driven by Ethernet technology, according to IDC

June 4, 2004

2 Min Read

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Fiber access networks are the "last mile" technology that bring the capacity of optical fiber right to end customers. Spurred by a favorable regulatory climate throughout much of the world and by demand for high-speed data, entertainment, and voice, the fiber access equipment market is poised for growth. IDC forecasts that revenue will increase from $503 million in 2003 to $2.4 billion by 2008 for a 37% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the period.

"Fiber is the next-generation wireline replacement for copper access networks," said Sterling Perrin, senior research analyst, Optical Networks at IDC. "Clearly, the migration from copper to fiber will take a long time - decades may pass before fiber access lines outnumber copper access lines. But the migration has begun, as evidenced by the $500 million in revenue generated in fiber access in 2003. The migration is also evidenced in the joint RBOC RFP for Fiber to the Premises issued last summer."

Looking at the fiber access equipment market over the next five years, IDC finds that Ethernet will be by far the dominant technology, not ATM-based passive optical networks (APON) nor G.983, equipment that was standardized by the ITU and, until now, has been most closely associated with fiber in the access network. Driving Ethernet fiber access will be the Asia/Pacific region, which is leading the metro Ethernet services charge, and where many of the deployments to date have been made using newer Ethernet equipment, rather than older APON.

IDC concludes that systems vendors and systems vendor suppliers need to take a global view of the market, realize the significance of Ethernet equipment in fiber access networks today and moving forward, and understand that G.983 APON will play a minority role in the global market. That said, the U.S. RBOCs remain committed to APON technology, and, thus, fiber access networks will not role out as homogenously as the Ethernet supporters would like.


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