Despite a 41 percent increase in shipments of downstream network equipment, total spending on broadband infrastructure by cable operators dropped 3 percent to $1.74 billion in 2015, according to SNL Kagan.
The research company said shipments grew rapidly as cable operators looked to keep up growth of their downstream capacities amid competition from fiber-fueled enterprises.
However, network equipment revenues slid for vendors such as Arris, as growth of software virtualization reduced the price of DOCSIS channels. The emergence of dense, efficient converged cable access platform products also pushed down pricing.
Arris led all network suppliers in terms of market share, capturing 53 percent of the market, SNL Kagan said. Cisco Systems (26 percent) and Casa Systems (15 percent) ranked at Nos. 2 and 3 in terms of market share.
The rollout of DOCSIS 3.1-powered networks by leading operators such as Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has vendors like Arris bullish on the near-term market.
"We're fortunate to have both ends of DOCSIS 3.1 — the network and the CPE end," Arris CEO Bob Stanzione said during his company's fourth-quarter earnings call last month.
Still, Jeff Heynen, senior research analyst for SNL Kagan, said DOCSIS 3.0 product lines still have a future.
"The imminent availability of DOCSIS 3.1 line cards 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," he said
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