While the market for fiber optic cable and transport gear may be in the middle of a prolonged slump in sales and adoption around the world, the potential for the growth of fiber-to-the-home technologies seems to still be lingering on the horizon.
That, at least, was the picture being painted by FTTH companies gathering at the first Fiber-to-the-Home Conference in New Orleans earlier this week. In conjunction with the show, the hosting FTTH Council released a comprehensive study of the technology, predicting FTTH installations to leap from 72,100 homes passed in 2002 to more than 315,000 in 2003. That’s a 330 percent jump, and the study predicts even more growth in 2004, when the number of FTTH homes passed is expected to range from 800,000 to 1.4 million.
The study, completed through more than 600 industry interviews by market researcher Render, Vanderslice & Associates, pegs a few key market segments in particular that plan on adopting more FTTH strategies, including large housing developments and masterplanned communities, municipalities, public utilities and rural electric coops.
In addition to the overall homes passed numbers, the study also found that over the last six months more than one percent of all new homes in the U.S. were built with FTTH service available. With an estimated 1.2 million new home permits being issued each month in the U.S., the potential seems to be there to reach some of the lofty numbers predicted in the study.
To get there builders will have to be convinced that they’ll see a return on their investment in adopting a comparatively expensive technology like FTTH. The study does provide a bit of guidance in this area as well, though, claiming an average take-rate for high-speed Internet services in FTTH projects at 21 percent. As comparison, homes that have cable modem or DSL available to them take high-speed Internet at just 14 percent.