Researcher: Recovery begins in 2004

March 6, 2003
March 6, 2003--Fiber will fare better than copper when the market goes from decline to growth next year, according to a new report from FTM Consulting.

Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting, recently announced the release of a new FTM study on the building data-communications cabling market. He expects the market's decline to continue through 2003, but says that a return to double-digit growth will soon follow. In the report "U.S. Building Fiber & Copper Cabling Systems: 2003," FTM predicts a revival for the cabling market from its recent steep decline.

In keeping with his analysis that the cabling market was "saturated" in the late 1990s, Murawski says that saturation, combined with the current economic downturn, caused the market's recent decline. "Copper cable, on a volume-shipment basis, declined by 29.2% in 2001, followed by a 23.1% decline in 2002," he said. "We expect a more modest decline of 6.1% in 2003. The copper-cable market is expected to continue to be soft after 2003, with small, single-digit growth projected. The growth will continue to be inhibited by market saturation.

"However, with new Gigabit Ethernet applications developing by 2004, we expect the growth of fiber cable to be in the double-digit range," he continued. Over the report's five-year forecast period, fiber cable is projected to grow at a 17% rate. The highest growth will be for horizontal cabling applications, such as storage area networks, switch-to-switch interconnectivity, fiber-to-the-zone, and by 2005, the arrival of fiber-to-the-desk.

According to Murawski, his new report details this new opportunity with the earliest applications using 10 Gbits/sec in the riser to aggregate 1-Gbit/sec networks. The report also describes the switch from copper to fiber cabling as the dominant medium inside buildings. By 2007, it says, fiber cable will account for 61.1% of the total market-an increase from its 41.4% share in 2002.

More information on the report is available by calling (717) 533-4990 or e-mailing [email protected].

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