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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 09, 2009

Price-Per-Megabit Declines Across the Board

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Measured in terms of price-per-megabit, digital subscriber line consumers have gained about 40 percent more value in the last 18 months, while cable modem users have gained about 30 percent, says Oliver Johnson, Point Topic CEO. Optical fiber value has improved about 17 percent.
Though prices are not dropping as quickly as they were, enhancements continue. Cable operators have increased the headline speed of their entry level services by 21 percent on a worldwide average in the last 18 months, compared to increases of 15 percent for fiber connections and 17 percent for DSL.
Cable and DSL advances have been driven by deployment of ADSL2+ and DOCSIS 3.0 technologies.
In most cases, says Johnson, hybrid delivery systems mixing optical fiber for trunking and distribution with copper media for drops will be the dominant pattern. “We think that fiber all the way to the home will find it hard to make progress on economic grounds,” says Johnson. “Hybrid solutions will be popular with the major operators given the shorter period to achieve a suitable return on investment."
DSL is still the dominant access technology, with almost 65 percent of the world market against 21 percent for cable and 12 percent for fiber. Over the next 10 years that will change, in fiber's favor over time. In some countries, fiber has taken market leadership within five years where it is available, usually depending on hybrid fiber-to-the-curb.
Progress never will be fast enough for some, but all evidence points to steady increases in typical access speeds, on every platform.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi