Adtran's CommScope PON/RFoG acquisition enhances its cable MSO profile, but impact remains unclear


Adtran gained a larger foothold in the cable market by purchasing CommScope's fiber and access solutions, a deal that gave it a set of PON and RFoG products that they can sell to cable MSOs, but the vendor's CEO says it is too early to tell how much of an effect the acquisition will have on overall revenues.

Tom Stanton, CEO of Adtran, told investors during its third quarter earnings call that the company does not expect a major impact in the near-term.

“I mean we may be surprised there, but we are trying to be really cautious about that,” Stanton said during the earnings call. “I mean that the CommScope piece was very good for us strategically without -- it got us much better positioned with some U.S. MSOs and got us into a position to be able to actually talk about broader products and not just products that were being sold there.”

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Adtran acquires CommScope's fiber access product lines, enhances cable services play

Before acquiring CommScope’s assets, Adtran had found the majority of its cable business in selling those customers its NetVanta business gateways.

Stanton said that the CommScope deal will enable it to start new conversations with cable MSOs that it previously could not have because it lacked a broader reach. “We’re very happy strategically, but we did not buy it for the revenue,” Stanton said. “We bought it to really kind of open the doors that we were trying to expand into. And having said that there will be some contribution, but I wouldn’t call it materially.”

One potential opportunity is to target cable MSOs that have deployed or are planning deploy FTTH in targeted Greenfield builds. Adtran could seek out opportunities to sell the RFoG solution to cable MSOs that allows them to deliver fiber-based services while leveraging existing HFC-based back office network elements to rural and low-density Greenfield deployments.

The vendor will also be able to advance its sales to cable operators in the business services space. A number of cable operators use a mix of DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) certified EPON products to deliver Ethernet and other IP-based services to business customers.

Looking forward, Adtran will also be able to assist cable MSOs with their own SDN transition. Adtran said when it bought the CommScope assets that it plans to integrate them into its Mosaic family of SDN solutions in order to “help MSOs migrate to a more open, programmable access environment.”

This article was updated on Oct. 20 to say that Adtran purchased only purchased CommScope's RFoG and PON solutions.