Consumers are the unlikely drivers behind a sales surge that has pushed worldwide CMTS manufacturer revenue up 39 percent to top the $1 billion level, according a report from Infonetics Research.

The report, which predicted a worldwide market of $1.5 billion in 2010, also said that all four major CMTS players – Arris, BigBand, Cisco and Motorola – appreciably increased revenue and port shipments in 2006.

And it all traces back to consumers who wouldn’t know a CMTS from a GIR (that’s green in regulation for non-golfers), according to Jeff Heynen, directing analyst, broadband and IPTV, at Infonetics.

"What’s driving the market for CMTS growth at this point is the better-than-expected uptake in digital voice customers that they’ve been able to pry away from the telcos," Heynen said.

Heynen said about 60 percent of the worldwide sales share comes from North America and is being driven by the usual parties, the big MSOs.

"Smaller companies have a very small percentage of contributions overall," he said.

Although it would seem as if a CMTS is a finite product, Heynen suggested sales will continue to grow in the United States as consumers adopt cable telephony, finally abandon dial-up Internet access, the industry moves to DOCSIS 3.0 and channel bonding and, perhaps more tellingly, cable finally attacks the business market.

"They’ve been talking about doing it for a number of years now, and it’s finally happening," Heynen said. "With AT&T focusing on the residential side and Verizon having acquired MCI, business customers are stranded at this point. They’re also in metro POPs (points of presence) deploying CMTSs along with Ethernet access to provide converged voice and data services to businesses." – Jim Barthold

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