The global broadband access market was hit and miss in Q2 2020, as total revenues ticked up 6% thanks to strong PON growth, but cable access network sales dropped 8%, according to new data from Dell'Oro Group.
Driven by 20% year-on-year PON equipment revenue growth, global revenue for all broadband access equipment rose 6%, to $3.3 billion, Dell'Oro said.
PON ONT (optical network terminal) unit shipments jumped 17% year-over-year. Meanwhile, total PON equipment revenues surged 39% on a sequential basis. As factories started to open up in the Asia-Pacific region, pent-up demand from Q1 got pulled into Q2, explained Jeff Heynen, Dell'Oro's senior research director, broadband access and home networking.
PON spending and demand for OLT (optical line terminal) ports was particularly strong in Europe. That region "is clearly making the shift to fiber, and that's being reflected in this investment in infrastructure," Heynen said.
The DSL Access Concentrator market also enjoyed a decent quarter, as port shipments rose 7% year-on-year, driven by a bounce-back in total VDSL port shipments.
Cable network spending dips as DOCSIS 3.1 CPE shipments rise
Revenues for the total Cable Access Concentrator market (that sector includes DOCSIS infrastructure elements such as Converged Cable Access Platform cores and chassis, virtual CCAP licensing and distributed access architecture nodes and modules) dipped 8%, to $219 million. As it was in Q1, the Q2 decline was driven by a slowdown in CCAP license purchases by North American cable operators.
Cable spending continued to center on adding capacity to existing infrastructure to handle rising demand on the residential network during the pandemic. Meanwhile, spending on some next-gen cable access technologies and products, such as virtual CCAP technologies and remote PHY devices used for distributed access architectures, were down again.
Cable access network spending "is very consistent," Heynen said. "Operators are trying to strike that balance of not spending too much and using capacity they already have in place. The big expansions are clearly not happening right now."
However, he does expect to see some pick-up in the second half of 2020 as DOCSIS licenses perk up following a wave of node splits to relieve congestion issues in particularly sensitive service groups.
On the positive side, Heynen said shipments of DOCSIS 3.1 modems and gateways reached record heights in Q2 2020 as operators such as Comcast, Charter and Liberty Global rolled out that class of device in greater numbers to support their respective D3.1 network upgrades.
Heynen said about 69% of DOCSIS consumer premises equipment (CPE) shipments in Q2 2020 were for DOCSIS 3.1 and that shipments for D3.1 CPE have outpaced DOCSIS 3.0 CPE shipments since the middle of 2019.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading, special to Broadband World News