IPTV subscribers climb faster than cable; dark fiber activity picks up

IPTV gains on cable: While cable subscriber numbers are still much higher at 93 million worldwide, IPTV is posting steady gains, an Infonetics Research report says. The largest boost is in Asia, with China Telecom boasting 22 million IPTV subscribers. Overall, IPTV subscriptions grew 6 percent sequentially from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013, while cable subs slumped 1 percent in the same period. "Cable TV and IPTV subscriptions in North America and EMEA continue to move in opposite directions," said Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research. "While telcos saw healthy quarter-over-quarter gains in IPTV subscribers in both regions in the first quarter of 2013, cable video subscribers fell off yet again." Orange (NYSE: ORAN), Iliad Group, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) rounded off the top five IPTV providers, which combined have 43 million subs. Release

Optical hinges on 100G: Between 2012 and 2018, the optical networks market will see a compound annual growth rate of 3.1 percent and will surpass $17.5 billion, Ovum predicts. The research firm sees increased spending and the surge in demand for 100G as key factors in this growth: In 2013, revenues for 100G optical products exceeded 40G products for the first time, and spending was up 233 percent in the first half of 2013 compared to a year previously. "Nearly all new large-scale, long-haul optical networks designed and deployed today will be 100G," said Ian Redpath, analyst, network infrastructure at Ovum and the report's author. "100G has assumed the lead position and will not yield within our forecast period. Two positive market trends are emerging at the same time. The first is a need for the CSPs to refresh network technology after a long period of running core networks hotter and delaying investment. The second major trend is the maturity of 100G technology to the point where CSPs have begun deployments at scale. 100G is in the right spot at the right time." Release

Dark fiber outlook brightens: Optical network providers laid more fiber optic cable in 2011 than they had since the halcyon days of 2000, a CRU Group study says in a Communications of the ACM article on the dark fiber market. And wholesalers are seeing a pickup in activity around buying and leasing dark fiber lines, the CACM article says. However, there is still some caution around buying dark fiber. Some carriers are worried about being labeled as primarily infrastructure providers, while "another drawback to leasing dark fiber is that a company could wind up enabling a competitor." Article