Worldwide revenue for broadband access equipment dropped 2% to $2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, according to a new report by Dell'Oro Group.
Sales of XG-PON, XGS-PON, NG-PON2 OLT ports, DOCSIS 3.1 and customer premises equipment (CPE) somewhat offset converged cable access platform (CCAP) spending, which declined for the second quarter in a row, the research firm found. In fact, total cable access concentrator revenue shrank 38% when compared with the prior period a year ago, driven by the CCAP spending slowdown in both North America and Europe, Dell'Oro said.
On the other hand, 10Gbit/s FTTH deployments continued to gain steam, said Jeff Heynen, research director for Broadband Access and Home Networking at Dell'Oro.
"The next-gen fiber increases nearly offset the weakness in cable CCAP spending, as cable operators push off new capacity purchases while they determine how to move forward with distributed access architectures," he said in a statement.
Total SOHO WLAN units grew 13% in this period. The SOHO market eagerly adopted mesh routers, designed to leverage high-speed broadband and deliver reliable, low latency and fast WiFi coverage throughout a home or small office. This particular segment increased 125% within 12 months, Dell'Oro said, while broadband CPE rose 19% in that timeframe.
Breaking out various pieces of the access market, the 1Q 2019 Broadband Access Quarterly Report determined total DSL port shipments decreased 21% year-over-year. Unsurprisingly, ADSL ports dropped dramatically, tumbling 71% in 12 months; VDSL ports decreased too, about one-fifth or 20%, Dell'Oro said.
This marks a continuation of slowing sales of copper-based technologies although gigabit-capable Gfast is a brighter spot for both vendors and providers. Usually positioned as a cost-effective, revenue-generating transition into fiber that allows operators to use existing copper until a building owner is ready for full-fiber, Gfast typically is deemed most appropriate for multi-dwelling units (MDUs) where it's most challenging to deploy fiber to each living space. Consumers and government conflated fiber and high-speed, causing several operators like BT to deploy fiber instead of previously planned Gfast.
"VDSL Profile 35b and Gfast will offset some -- not all -- of the revenue loss from declining ADSL port shipments," according to an earlier Dell'Oro Broadband Access 5-Year Forecast. "Some major Gfast deployments are already seeing signs of shrinking as governments lobby operators to increase their investments in fiber."
Year-over-year shipments of all PON optical line terminals (OLTs) grew 7%, with XGS-PON experiencing a 337% surge in sales. While first-quarter 2018 sales of XGS-PON were relatively miniscule, most operators cited it as the 10G PON technology of choice and plan to deploy it by 2020, a November 2018 study found.
By 2022, XGS-PON will amass $1.034 billion in sales, compared with 2017 sales of $16 million, according to Dell'Oro. By comparison, NG-PON2 will deliver sales of only $204 million in 2022 versus $5.9 million in 2017, the researcher said.
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