Cable Broadband Infrastructure Spending Dropped in 2015

Cable broadband infrastructure spending dipped by 3% in 2015, compared to 2014 levels, thanks in part to dropping DOCSIS downstream channel prices and record shipments of super-dense converged cable access platform (CCAP) products, SNL Kagan found.

Shipments of total DOCSIS downstream channels rose 41% during 2015, topping 6 million, as cable operators continued to build out capacity amid growing deployments of FTTP networks by Google Fiber, municipal providers and other ISPs, SNL Kagan said.

But revenues did not keep pace with shipments as the rise in software licenses helped to push down the average price per downstream channel. Despite that boost in channel shipments, revenues in the category dropped 3%, to $1.74 billion, SNL Kagan found.

Among vendors, Arris ended 2015 as the market leader, holding 53% of total revenue among suppliers of cable broadband infrastructure, aided by key customers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Update: Jeff Heynen, senior research analyst for SNL Kagan, said Cisco Systems followed with 26% share of the market by year-end, while Casa Systems collected 15%. He said Cisco has been picking up momentum in recent quarters as its new flagship CCAP, the  cBR-8, gets into the field, and the company continues to line up customers for the product.

All three will benefit from cable’s transition to DOCSIS 3.1, Heynen said, reiterating that he does expect spending to remain relatively strong as MSOs add capacity amid competition with other providers. 

“The imminent availability of DOCSIS 3.1 linecards and full-spectrum channels won't slow the continued purchase and deployment of current DOCSIS 3.0 channels as cable operators must continue to increase throughput to reduce the likelihood of churn among their broadband subscribers,” Heynen said, in a statement. 

Comcast, Arris’s largest customer, is among those being most aggressive with DOCSIS 3.1. Last week, Comcast announced an “advanced consumer trial” of a DOCSIS 3.1-powered offering in Atlanta that pairs a downstream that maxes out at 1 Gbps with a 35 Mbps upstream.

Comcast has also announced that it plans to offer residential and business-class gigabit broadband using DOCSIS 3.1 in Nashville in “early 2016,” and follow with launches in Chicago, Detroit and Miami in the second half of 2016. Arris announced last month that its flagship CCAP, the E6000, is supporting the rollout in four of the initial five DOCSIS 3.1 deployment markets identified by Comcast.