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Forecast: cable broadband growth strong, but slowing

Mon, 05/23/2005 - 8:00pm
Karen Brown

Worldwide broadband cable subscribers still grew by a healthy rate last year, but don't expect such healthy growth in future years, according to new research from Infonetics Research.

The San Jose, Calif.-based analyst firm reported that cable modem customers world wide grew 22 percent in 2004, totaling 41 million. North America is the dominant market, claiming 56 percent of all cable modem customers.

But the subscriber growth rate is starting to slow, Infonetics predicts. In 2008, total world cable modem customers will reach about 58 million.

Gear-wise, cable modem termination system sales declined, but the outlook is still strong. After a record-setting fourth quarter 2004, worldwide CMTS revenue, as expected, dropped 25 percent in the first quarter 2005, totaling $145 million. It is, however, the first drop after seven consecutive quarterly increases, according to Infonetics.

"The bull rush in the CMTS market will pick up next quarter and continue at least through 2008, fueled by high-speed Internet, telephony, PacketCable Multimedia, and wideband cable DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades, driven first by North America, then Asia Pacific, and later Europe," said report author Michael Howard, principal analyst of Infonetics Research. "We raised our long-term forecast this quarter, as it appears the DSL and FTTH rampage that is causing a reactive cable investment course will be with us for some time."

North America also was the stronghold for CMTS sales, accounting for 51 percent of revenue world wide, followed by Europe and the Middle East at 26 percent, and 20 percent from Asia.

The top three CMTS providers - Cisco Systems Inc., Motorola Inc. and ARRIS - account for 94 percent of the total revenue. Cisco kept its worldwide lead, claiming more than 50 percent of the revenue and market share per port. Motorola came in second, followed by ARRIS.

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