Fiber homes in on copper

Fiber and hybrid fiber has surpassed cable as the second most common broadband access technology after copper, according to the latest figures from Broadband Forum.
Fiber-based deployments accounted for nearly half of all new broadband sign-ups worldwide during the year leading up to Q3 2012, the industry group said in a new report.
The report, based on research from Point Topic, indicates that around 54 million new customers signed on for broadband services during the period - and 26 million of these are being served by fiber.
Hybrid FTTx accounted for a 16.77% share of the global broadband market, with pure FTTH making up another 2.93%. This compares to a 19.06% share for cable, and 57.81% for copper.
But in terms of subscriber growth, FTTx and FTTH were much closer. FTTx customers grew 26.8% between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, while FTTH gained 22.5%.
Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson said the global broadband market managed a growth of 12 million lines in Q3 2012 despite the harsh global economic climate.
“As the world gradually emerges from financial turmoil the continued growth of broadband has been a steady light in the storm,” he said. “We won’t see the triple digit growth of old but many markets are entering a phase of consolidation and consumer multi-service alignment.”
In news that lends credence to Point Topic's findings, research firm IDATE has separately published its own report suggesting that the European FTTH/B market grew a solid 15% in 2H12.
By mid-2012, the firm estimates there were nearly 7.3 million FTTH/B subscribers across Europe, and 33.8 million homes passed by fiber.
FTTB architecture now accounts for around 70% of FTTH/B rollouts, as this configuration allows operators to avoid the issues with negotiating access to private property to install lines, IDATE said.