Mirroring the generally sluggish economic climate, global revenue for cable access platforms, a sector that includes cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), dropped by more than nine percent to $181.9 million in the first half of 2002, Gartner Dataquest revealed in a new report. In comparison, the sector pulled down about $201.1 million in the first half of 2001.

Not all is lost, though, as Gartner Dataquest forecasts that the cable access platform category is likely to recover by 2006, "but will only reach and possibly slightly exceed revenue levels reached in 2000, or approximately $656.7 million."

The firm said the decline in the first half of this year was due to the generally reduced levels of capital spending by cable operators and other broadband service providers.

Gartner Dataquest Principal Analyst Patti Reali noted that MSOs are not buying equipment to foster IP telephony services in big numbers yet, and that several operators have introduced tiered data services without the need to migrate to gear based on the QoS-sensitive DOCSIS 1.1 specification. Although cable operators are starting to buy and install 1.1-qualified CMTSs, they aren't necessarily leveraging 1.1's features.

Even when MSOs ramp up their VoIP spending–perhaps as early as 2004–the industry will still require a lengthy period before the service gains traction in the market, Reali said.

According to Gartner Dataquest, Cisco Systems Inc. led all CMTS vendors by mid-2002 with 57.3 percent of the market. ADC Telecommunications, bolstered by its line of "Cuda" CMTS equipment, usurped the number two slot from Motorola Broadband with 19 percent of the market.

Worldwide, DOCSIS-based gear dominated the category in the first half of 2002 with an 86.6 percent market share and $157.5 million in revenues.