BSRIA: Worst is over for U.S. cabling market

February 14, 2002--But, the UK-based market researcher says, the U.S. will not see the $2.1 billion mark it reached in 2000 again until 2006.

The U.S. structured cabling market is set to move slowly after a dreadful year in 2001 when sales fell 25%, according to U.K.-based market researcher BSRIA (www.bsria.co.uk). "After some draconian price cuts were announced in 2001, a further modest fall in prices is expected in 2002," the company said in an announcement of its study "U.S. Structured Cabling," which was released last month.

BSRIA expects the market to increase by an average of 5.2% annually through 2005, but will not reach the 2000 level of $2.1 billion until 2006. Furthermore, BSRIA expects just 1% growth this year and 3% growth next year, before more rapid acceleration in 2004.

In its study, BSRIA reports that nine vendors control 70% of the structured cabling market, and four major distributors control 75% of total sales. In contrast, BSRIA says, the installer industry remains highly fragmented.

Penetration of proposed Category 6 solutions has already reached 34% by value, despite the depressed market and delays of the standard's final approval. BSRIA expects Category 5, still used for residential and some commercial applications, to disappear by next year.

BSRIA points out that the cable value in relation to the total horizontal solution is much higher in the U.S. than in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. "This is due to the high penetration of plenum cable, rarely found outside North America," BSRIA says. "Furthermore, American installers often choose cheaper patch cords sold by assembly houses, lowering the component shares of total sales."

BSRIA also estimates the U.S. shielded-cabling market at $28 million, calling it "significant," and pointing out that it is used mainly for specialized industrial applications because of its resistance to interference.

The researcher also anticipates that fiber-to-the-desk will increase at a 14% annual rate after last year's fall, but remains a small market. "It is mostly used in military and government offices and high-tech companies," BSRIA says. "Multimode is mainly used for backbone, but campus use is also significant. Singlemode is found in backbone and campus applications, but only 10 to 20% is connected."

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