Upgraded hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) networks will play a major role in delivering ultra-fast broadband to over 180 million homes right around the world by 2020. Over the next 5 years, the global HFC broadband market will continue to thrive despite the growing availability of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks in many countries. The total number of global broadband subscribers to HFC networks will increase by 23 percent from 152 million in 2015 to 187 million in 2020, with HFC remaining a market-leading technology in blue-chip markets, including the U.S., where Ovum predicts it will have over 70 million subscriber households in 2020.
So, how can HFC networks that are several decades old go head to head with fresh out-of-the-box FTTP networks and actually increase their total number of subscribers in the years ahead?
The answer is that the advances being made in HFC's DOCSIS technology in recent years have been a little short of breath-taking. Ten years ago, networks that were struggling to make double-digit megabit (Mbps) speeds are now on the verge of speeds up to 1 Gbps and beyond. Network performance by HFC now rivals fiber-based platforms, with HFC operators enabling substantial increases in download speeds over the last 5 years.
Cable operators in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific do not necessarily have to replace their networks with FTTP in order to deliver multi-gigabit speeds in the future - they can potentially do so more easily and cheaply by upgrading their existing networks to new technologies like DOCSIS 3.1.