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News Briefs (May 01, 2003)

IS THE SLOWDOWN ABOUT TO END? NEW STUDY SAYS YESA major study scheduled for release this month from FTM Consulting Inc. will reveal that the worldwide cabling market will turn its back on the economic...


May 1, 2003  


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IS THE SLOWDOWN ABOUT TO END? NEW STUDY SAYS YES

A major study scheduled for release this month from FTM Consulting Inc. will reveal that the worldwide cabling market will turn its back on the economic recession and grow significantly over the next five years.

Frank Murawski, president of the Hummelstown, Pa. research firm, is projecting that the global market will reach US$18 billion by 2008, growing at a 16.8 per cent rate. Two significant developments are fostering this growth.

New broadband applications emerging in developed regions will need new technology fiber cabling to replace existing copper cabling and less developed regions, such as China, will need to install initial LANs with inexpensive copper cabling.

“Another secondary factor will be the emerging countries that will skip cooper cabling and instead, deploy more expensive fiber cabling their leading-edge industries such as banking and finance,” the report states. “These countries, which are not burned with installed copper cabling, can bypass the older technologies and go directly to the new fiber technology cabling.”

Murawski notes that fiber cable is projected to grow at a rate of 23 per cent, which will far exceed copper cable growth of only 6.5 per between now and 2008.

A key reason for fiber’s dominance will be the need to support emerging broadband applications in horizontal cabling subsystems.

The report estimates that fiber’s share of the market, which currently sits at 59.4 per cent, will soar to 75.8 per cent within the next five years.

It is expected that the developed nations will be implementing newer technology fiber cables slightly ahead of the less developed regions. However, the less developed regions not “saddled” with older technology copper cabling, will elect to skip directly to fiber, he says.

“The global economic downturn of the past two years has severely impacted the entire worldwide cabling market equally in all of the five major worldwide regions,” Murawski writes in the study’s executive summary.

“Lack of capital expenditures has been the primary reason for this decline in the cabling market. Businesses were spending to deploy newer LAN networks only for applications with immediate paybacks or productivity increases.”

The distribution of the market by region indicates the Americas will account for 50.2 per cent of the market this year, declining slightly to 46.6 per cent by the end of the study period.

The other notable change in market shares include both Eastern Europe and the rest of the world (ROW) regions, both of which will see a massive increase in initial LAN deployments.

“Global economic downturn has hurt everybody, but what has been holding back the growth in North America aside from the economy has been the saturation level,” Murawski said. “We don’t have that in other parts of the undeveloped world. Many countries are just putting their initial networks in and they have a long way to go.

“Everything has been down, down, down. All of a sudden there is a comfortable feeling that things are improving. The chip manufacturers are going to have a good year. They generally are a good leading indicator of what will happen in the cable industry.

He described the document as a good news report. The worldwide cabling market decreased by 18.5 per cent in 2001 and by 10.5 per cent last year. Positive growth, the report stated, will reach a “modest” six per cent this year.

UPDATED PRACTICES FOR OPTICAL FIBER NOW AVAILABLE FROM SCTE

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) recently released the third edition of Recommended Practices for Optical Fiber Construction and Testing.

Developed by SCTE’s Construction and Maintenance Subcommittee (CMS), the revised manual provides suggested practices for cable handling tools and equipment; aerial and underground cable placement; fiber enclosures; bonding and grounding; and maintenance and emergency restoration.

The subcommittee, chaired by Fred Wilkenloh of CommScope Inc., develops standards for design, construction and maintenance of communications systems, including new building, retrofit and upgrade safety.

Copies of Recommended Practices, which cost US$96 for society members and US$120 for non-members, can be ordered online from the SCTE Bookstore at www.scte.org or by calling SCTE at 800-542-5040 or 610-363-6888.

The SCTE standards program covers a range of industry needs from F connectors to protocols for high-speed data access over cable. Six of SCTE’s digital video standards were selected as the core of a recent agreement between cable operators and consumer electronic manufacturers.

SCTE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and works in cooperation with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

It currently has 15,000 members from 70 countries and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry’s educational benefit.

SCTE has 70 chapters and meeting groups and has technically certified over 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry.

PERLE NAILS DOWN MAJOR CONTRACT WITH ACE HARDWARE

Perle Systems, a developer and manufacturer of networking products for IP and e-business access, and Ace Hardware Corp., a co-operative of independent home hardware stores, have announced that Perle JetStream8500 Serial Servers are being deployed in all Ace Hardware stores.

The 24-port JetStream8500 serial server from Perle is an integrated multifunction offering that provides Ace Hardware with serial connectivity necessary for their upgraded POS solution.

Ace Hardware selected the JetStream8500 serial server after the company installed an updated Linux-based point of sale and inventory management system.

Founded in 1924, Ace Hardware Corporation, headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., is a cooperative wholly owned by its 5,100 independent hardware, home center, lumber and building materials retailers.

AXIA COMPLETES PURCHASE FOR RURAL PORTION OF ALBERTA SUPERNET

Axia has purchased existing fiber from Telus Communications Inc., on behalf of the Alberta government for use in the rural portion of the Alberta SuperNet. The contract, approved by the CRTC, is worth approximately $34.9 million.

The purchase, completed by Axia SuperNet Ltd., generated net profit of almost $1.94 million to Axia.

The agreement concludes Axia’s responsibility to complete major transactions for the purchase of third-party network assets on behalf of the provincial government, as outlined in a March 19 news release concerning Axia’s renegotiated contract with the provincial government and Bell West.

“Acquiring existing fibre reinforces the government’s underlying SuperNet philosophy of using established telecommunications infrastructure where it is available,” said Drew McNaughton, president of Axia SuperNet.

Alberta SuperNet is a government initiative linking 4,700 libraries, schools, hospitals and provincial government offices in 422 communities province-wide by 2004.

TELEGLOBE AND COMFONE TO DEVELOP NEW GLOBAL ROAMING SERVICES

Teleglobe and Swiss-based Comfone plan to develop a set of roaming services running over their combined signaling networks. The two companies say they are one of the first telecommunications companies to offer international global roaming services designed for mobile carriers offering roaming to and from North America.

According to The Yankee Group’s Keith Mallinson, the global roaming market is substantial and will continue to experience healthy growth as subscriber numbers and minutes of use per subscriber around the world continue to increase.