Global FTTH shipments up 58 percent in 2006
Fiber to the home (FTTH) shipments worldwide jumped 41% in the final quarter of 2006 and were up 58% over the year as a whole, according to a new report, "Broadband Shipment Analysis", published by the analyst company Dittberner.
The report says that a record 4.6 million optical network terminal (ONT) and optical line terminal (OLT) ports shipped in 2006.
III-V chips such as 1310 nm and 1490 nm distributed feedback (DFB) lasers and avalanche photodiodes are used in these ports, and the opto foundry CyOptics shipped more than a million such devices for FTTH applications last year (see related story).
The jump in 4Q06, after flat second and third quarters, was due to the change in the mixture of detached homes and apartments in the FTTH-leading Japanese market. This shift will cause some variability in such shipments for the foreseeable future, although the general trend is upwards, says the Dittberner report.
The FTTH market is still dominated by domestic Japanese companies supplying Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (GPON) equipment. Japan currently has 4.8 million FTTH subscribers, about four times more than the next largest market, the US.
So even though the US s largest FTTH supplier, Tellabs, saw its shipments grow by 27% in 2006, it didn t kept pace with either the Japanese or the overall market. The top five suppliers marginally increased their market share from 91.6 to 91.9% in 2006.
However, the Dittberner analysts predict changes to this scenario in 2007. Korea has launched a new FTTH initiative, which helped to boost Siemens GPON shipments in 4Q06. Early in 2007 Alcatel-Lucent also announced a GPON initiative with France Telecom.
In the US, Verizon is expected to add one million FTTH subscribers in 2007, mostly with GPON, which is expected to increase Tellabs shipments as well as those of Alcatel-Lucent, Verizon s chosen GPON supplier.
Dittberner believes that these new FTTH initiatives – coupled with the existing Japanese build out – will see the total market grow to 6.8 million ports in 2007. The Japanese suppliers market share is set to drop from 82% of total FTTH ports shipped in 2006 to 55% in 2007.
Generally, GPON will continue to grow in the coming years as major service providers in Europe and North America launch more GPON-based FTTH initiatives, while BPON (broadband) shipments will decline sharply as a percentage of the overall market.
Dittberner concluded that Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Siemens, which is set to merge with Nokia, are poised to be the biggest beneficiaries of this latest growth.
Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org and Optics and Laser Europe magazine.