2007 will be a record year for FTTH shipments. According to Dittberner’s “Broadband Shipment Analysis”, in Q3 of this year FTTH shipments increased 7% QoQ on top of a strong 25% growth in 2Q07. Port shipments are up 38% YoY and so far this year they have exceeded 90% of the total shipments for 2006, putting it on track to be the best ever. The increase was due to a strong showing in the North American and Japanese markets, while Korea’s shipments were down slightly.
The dominant Japanese market continues to move towards a higher percentage of MDU subscribers, increasing the number of VDSL ports while reducing the number of FTTH ports. NTT, the dominant service provider in Japan, added about 423,000 FTTH customers. Verizon had comparable growth, adding 227,000 FTTH customers.
The rapid growth outside of Japan is seen in the market shares. The top three Japanese suppliers only account for 56% of the shipments, down from 78% a year ago. However, the total number of ports shipped by Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Hitachi combined is little changed from a year ago. Tellabs benefited from the accelerating FTTH roll-outs by Verizon. This will be temporary as Verizon is in the process of switching to GPON technology from Alcatel-Lucent. GePON is still the dominant technology at 67% of ports shipped. GPON will grow as Verizon switches over and shipments in Western Europe pick up later this year.
According to Dittberner, 2007 will be a record year for FTTH shipments, however the high cost of deployment and lack of new high-revenue services will keep FTTH from challenging DSL as the lead broadband technology. North America has not given any indication that FTTH is attractive enough to launch another initiative like Verizon’s but this may change as the cable operators begin to deploy DOCSIS 3.0 networks.