PON component outlook better than expected

Julie Kunstler/Ovum
06 May 2014

Ovum reviewed its forecast for the PON market by meeting with leading OC (optical component) and subcomponent vendors along with equipment vendors and operators during OFC in March and the Fiber Optics Expo in April.

The consensus was that the outlook for PON optical components for the next five years is rosier than expected. Previously, Ovum’s FTTx OC forecast called for declines in both ONT and OLT OC shipments for the 2014–18 period.

The improved picture comes from a variety of market drivers rather than any single major deployment. Positive drivers include non-FTTH applications such as MBH (mobile backhaul) and business services, Google Fiber and competitor responses, FTTH deployments by electric utilities, an increase in FTTH versus FTTB, continued deployments in Eastern Europe, and upgrades of older ONT devices.

We take a brief look at these positive factors as we prepare for Ovum’s presentation at Optinet in Beijing on May 22.

FTTH consumes more optics than FTTB

FTTH deployments require one ONT per home versus an ONU per floor or building in FTTB deployments. There has been a significant shift towards FTTH deployments over the past several years due to more flexible fiber cabling and marketing of more bandwidth per customer. In addition, CSPs encountered FTTB-related operational and cost issues that have tipped the cost/benefit equation in favor of FTTH in some cases.

Google Fiber extends its plans, and competitors follow

Earlier this year Google announced plans to extend Google Fiber to 34 new US cities in nine metro areas. Google Fiber is currently available in Kansas City, Missouri, and Provo, Utah, with Austin, Texas coming online shortly. Google Fiber offers 1G symmetrical bandwidth data and video services. Since the announcement, AT&T and cable operators have publicized plans regarding their respective new 1G FTTH services. Other operators also intend to increase bandwidth without raising fees.

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