A 10-Year Residential Bandwidth Demand Forecast And Implications For Delivery Networks (2002)

By Randy Nash, Motorola

Today’s Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) cable plants provide a cost effective infrastructure for delivery of video, voice and Internet data services to residential customers. Consumers expect Multi-System Operators (MSOs) to continue providing more content and innovative services at competitive prices. What types of service changes are likely to occur over the next 10 years? What are the implications of increased bandwidth consumption to the delivery network? Does Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) meet the capacity and future service needs and when do we need Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH)? What are the value propositions for average consumers? Will there be a “killer app?” How many broadcast channels do we really need, can afford to deliver and can pay to produce? Who wants High-Definition Television (HDTV)? The answers to these related questions depend not only on technological advances that change economics, but also on consumer expectations and adaptation to new technology. This paper takes a macroscopic approach to estimating demand changes in the following categories: · Analog broadcast · Digital video broadcast · HDTV broadcast · Video-on-Demand (VOD) · IP data and services · IP Telephony A team of Motorola product engineers, applied researchers and marketing staff developed a forecast to better understand requirements and timing for next generation products. As with all attempts to predict the future, there are dimensions of uncertainty. However, the alternative is to march ahead without any vision of future needs. Industry analyst predictions were useful, but none put the pieces together from a bandwidth perspective. MSOs in North America, Europe and Latin America were consulted for plans and expectations. The forecast was updated and conclusions are presented here. The bandwidth forecast categories are aggregated to determine RF bandwidth required on HFC nodes. This leads to a possible scenario for HFC node segmentations over the next 10 years.

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