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Worldwide Broadband Cable Subscribers Skyrocketed 22% In 2004

Total subscribers reached 41 million, but cable modem termination system sales slipped in first quarter of 2005.

The number of worldwide cable broadband subscribers grew at a substantial 22% clip last year, but this growth was met with a temporary drop in cable modem termination system (CMTS) sales in the first quarter of 2005, according to a new report from Infonetics Research

According to Infonetics' Cable Aggregation Hardware quarterly worldwide market share and forecast report, cable broadband subscription numbers were up 22%, reaching 41 million worldwide in 2004. Infonetics expects the growth trend to continue, but more slowly, through 2008, when the global number of cable broadband subscribers is expected to reach 58 million.

Despite the growth, there was a 25% drop in worldwide CMTS revenues, to $145 million, in the first quarter of this year, after seven straight quarters of growth. The CMTS market continues to be led by North America, which has 56% of the world's cable broadband subscribers accounting for 51% of global CMTS revenues, followed by Asia Pacific with 24% of subscribers and 20% of revenues, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with 16% of subscribers and a 26% revenue share.

Infonetics principal analyst Michael Howard said that the CMTS downturn is temporary, however. "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," he said in a statement. "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."

All of the leading CMTS vendors experienced a downturn in revenues, though three companies control 94% of the market. Cisco is the undisputed leader with a 50% market share, with Motorola and Arris each increasing their revenues by 3% to take second and place, respectively.

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