If you ask iSuppli, an El Segundo, CA based market research firm, telecom FTTH deployments like Verizon FiOS are a serious threat to cable MSOs. In a recently released research report, Steve Rago, principal analyst for networking and optical communications with iSuppli Corp. says “FTTH poses a real threat to the MSOs, potentially rendering today’s cable television infrastructure obsolete.” iSuppli sees HDTV as the bandwidth difference maker, with the demand for multiple HD feeds crippling all providers who do not have a FTTH infrastructure. IPTV proponents will argue that switched digital video architectures will provide the solution for handling HDTV. Cable providers are eyeing SDV with great interest as well.
Before funerals start getting arranged for Comcast, Cox, and others, we should put this postulation into perspective. While FTTH clearly offers competitive advantage, it will take years, maybe decades, before the number of FTTH homes passed rivals’ cable HFC networks. That’s a considerable amount of time for cable companies to prepare for their ‘demise.’ During that time, these same companies aren’t exactly going to be sitting around as telcos advance on and surpass them. For example, we reported on July 3rd about Comcast’s plans to deploy a 100 Mbps service, utilizing DOCSIS 3.0. Certainly a 100 Mbps service should provide enough of a competitive response to FTTH. Or will it? The determining factor in this argument will be decided by consumers and their corresponding demand for broadband. Will 100 Mbps be enough?