GPON spending rose 44% in Q1, says Infonetics

Service provider spending on GPON-based fiber to the home (FTTH), particularly in China and EMEA, rose 44 percent in a traditionally slow season for the first quarter of 2014.

"Compared to the year-ago quarter, GPON equipment revenue is up a solid 44% in the first quarter of 2014, a result of continued fiber-to-the-home spending in China and EMEA," notes Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.

Overall, the global broadband equipment market (DSL, PON, and Ethernet FTTH) slid 5 percent sequentially in the first quarter of 2014, but up 23 percent year-over-year, totaling $1.89 billion.

The only equipment category that grew sequentially in the first quarter is PON (+0.1%).

Growth patterns in EMEA and China were driven by different dynamics.

In EMEA, both vectored VDSL and FTTH continued to rise. Driven by deployments by KPN, Belgacom, Turk Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, EMEA continues to reap major vectored VDSL2 projects, while FTTH spending in Russia and the Middle East continued to ramp.

While China Telecom and China Unicom are slowing their FTTH investments to focus on LTE rollouts, China Mobile increased its FTTH spending on the China Tietong wireline network it inherited in 2008.

Another market worth watching will be North America, where three of the largest wireline telcos--AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream--are ramping up their deployment plans for VDSL2 and GPON.

"AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream, and tier 3 operators all have dedicated plans in place to expand their VDSL and GPON deployments in an effort to keep pace with cable DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts and fiber offerings from upstarts like Google," Heynen said.

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