Report: Cable will have growing backhaul opportunities

Fri, 10/16/2009 - 8:25am
Brian Santo

The explosion of wireless traffic means there will continue to be plenty of opportunity for cable operators to supplement their income with backhaul services, according to a new report from Visant Strategies.

"Backhaul cost and capacity challenges exist in the middle and edge of the wireless network, as leased copper lines which backhaul most base stations today are often deemed too costly for the exponential jump in backhaul capacity that will be needed for 3.5G/4G," said report author Andy Fuertes of Visant Strategies.

"Fiber is not always available at the base station or at middle elements of the wireless network, such as the RNC/BSC, so carriers are using more wireless backhaul," said Larry Swasey of Visant Strategies.

While the report focuses on growing backhaul needs at the core of the network, all reaches of the network are set for growth.

US Base Stations w/more than 24 Mbps of Backhaul Capacity

Cable operators will have an obvious opportunity as the edge of the network gets populated with femtocells, Swasey told CED. “It’s a niche right now for cable operators, but when femtocells come in, they’re going to have to backhaul that, and cable operators will have the wires locally. It has to be either cable or DSL,” Swasey said.

According to "U.S. Mobile Backhaul 2010: Continued Expansion 2009 to 2015 and the Needs of the Middle Network," base stations with more than 24 Mbps of backhaul capacity will grow by more than a factor of 20 from 2009 to 2015, while in 2015 the number of base stations with less than 12 Mbps of backhaul capacity will be half of that today. Also, wireless backhaul links will nearly double by 2015, while wireline backhaul links will increase slightly through the same period.

The report quantifies through 2015 base station deployments, tower construction, capital spending, subscribers and network evolution to 3.5G and 4G platforms. Middle of the network backhaul bottlenecks are detailed, while capacity per tower and 3.5G/4G base station, MSC, BSC/RNC sites and collector point deployments are given through 2015.

Backhaul service revenues, average backhaul per month per base station, and backhaul lines by capacity per base station are given, as are backhaul lines by technology.

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