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Study: Global Fiber-to-the-Home Use To Surge

NEW YORK — The total number of homes worldwide that will be reached by next-generation fiber-optic networks will soar from about 11 million this year to about 86 million in 2011, according to study by Heavy Reading, the market research division of Light Reading Inc.

The FTTH Worldwide Market and Technology Forecast, 2006-2011 said Fiber-to-the-Home expansion will be the most aggressive in Asia over the next five years. There, the number of connected households will grow to 59 million by the end of 2011. The rest of the subscriber base at 2011 will be split equally
between the Americas and the Europe/Middle East/Africa region.

In addition, the study said HDTV, next-generation gaming, personal video, and digital photography will contribute to the emergence of a new broadband standard of 100 Mbit/s symmetric over the next 12 to 24 months. Although VDSL2 networks can in principle provide such capacity, this is at the limit of copper's capabilities and will encourage telecom companies to begin transitioning to fiber-to-the-home.

"The transition from copper to fiber access networks is now well underway and will result in the replacement of most copper networks over the next two decades," notes Graham Finnie, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Although DSL offers a temporary fix to the ever-growing consumer demand for bandwidth, it will run out of options in the next three to five years, meaning that telcos must begin the
transition to fiber soon."

The study noted that EPON is the solution of choice in most Asian countries and will dominate overall deployment, but GPON will dominate in the U.S. Active Ethernet and EPON have some support in the U.S., but will remain minority technologies.