New Study Concludes G.lite not enough to overcome advantages and head start of cable modems

G.lite: New Study Concludes G.lite not enough to overcome advantages and head start of cable modems

A new study published by Forward Concepts reviews the technical and business hurdles faced by the telephone and cable TV industries in bringing broadband access to residential customers. Broadband in the Local Loop-98, Cable Modem Madness vs. DSL Dementia is the market research firm’s third study of the battle between DSL and Cable Modem technologies and the industries behind each. According to the study, cable modems will win the lion’s share of the residential broadband market, outnumbering DSL modems 5:1 in North American and 2.6:1 worldwide by the year 2003. The five-year growth rate for cable modems is forecast to be 93% in North America and 114% in other regions.

Since the previous study, much has happened on both DSL and cable modem fronts. The cable companies have seen significant investments from outside sources, are continuing and even accelerating their cable modem rollouts. They have rallied around standards promulgated by CableLabs, and have seen their installed base pass the 250,000 mark. The DSL backers have formed the UAWG to promote Universal ADSL, a splitterless DSL called G.lite that they hope to make into an international standard. Forward Concepts predicts that G.lite modems will garner 55% of the residential DSL market by the end of the forecast period.

The Study concludes that the rollout plans announced by the telcos are unrealistically optimistic, that the services are too high-priced for the mainstream residential market, and face many technical and regulatory hurdles–oft overlooked in the excitement of bringing in a new age of high speed IP-based telecommunications. Forward Concepts also believes that splitterless DSL still has many technical unknowns, and that its suitability as a “universal” service is still open to question. DSL services also jeopardize existing, highly profitable, data communications services, further reducing motivation for rollout by the telcos. The cable companies, in contrast, see IP video, IP telephony, Internet access, and remote LAN access as significant incremental revenue opportunities, unencumbered by existing services.

However, the report indicates that DSL services will dominate in business, reflecting the stronger position of the telephone companies over the cable companies in that sector. Forecasts of cable modems and xDSL modems (ADSL, RDSL, SDSL, and HDSL) for North American and worldwide markets, both residential and business, are presented through the year 2003.

The study examines the incentives for broadband adoption, including the effect of the Internet, remote LAN access, video-on-demand by telephone companies, cable telephony, and videoconferencing. The report also discusses other broadband alternatives, including terrestrial wireless, satellite, and VBI (vertical blanking interval) services and the effect of Internet TV. The analysis includes a discussion of the forces helping push broadband access into the mainstream, including falling prices, emerging standards, moves towards retail modem channels, and OEMs building broadband modems into their next generation products. At the same time, regulatory squabbles, telco distractions, genuine technical obstacles, and limited general-public interest in high-speed access represent significant barriers to rapid diffusion.

The 400-page report with over 150 figures and tables is available immediately. Price is $2,750.00 for the first copy, and $500.00 for subsequent copies. Complete details may be found on the company’s website at, or call Forward Concepts at 602-968-3759 for a free brochure.

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