The COVID-19 pandemic has affected entire sectors of our global economy. With working from home and social distancing becoming the new standard, the telecom sector appears to be a key accelerator in keeping our economies up and running.
While broadband connectivity is now seen as a evident ‘facility’ in these times of crisis, new perspectives have emerged for telecom operators. At this time, most cable operators have deployed DOCSIS 3.0 in their country of operations. However, two trends have emerged for them. The issue is if it is more profitable to upgrade existing networks towards DOCSIS 3.1 or if it is wiser to gradually migrate towards full-fibre networks, given the throughput limitations of cable.

This study examines in detail how cable and fibre markets are evolving, thus defining the main trends observed in key markets as the US and Europe.

The major part of the study examines the range of tools able to guide a decision-making process (where/when/how to make the move towards FTTH? DOCSIS?).

Finally, it discusses whether DOCSIS should be seen as a game changer when compared to FTTH.

Key questions

  • How are cable and fibre broadband markets evolving?
  • What are the main trends identified in key markets?
  • Which strategies are being implemented by cable operators now, or can be expected in the near future?
  • Which specificities differentiate DOCSIS from FTTH?
  • What options shape a move towards full fibre or DOCSIS implementation?
  • What are the main characteristics to take into account in the decision-making process?

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Where lies the future of multi-Gbps networks?
2.1. Fibre companies or cable companies
2.2. FTTH and cable broadband markets: where are we now?
2.3. Focus on United States of America
2.4. Focus on Europe
2.5. FTTH versus DOCSIS: specifications compared

3. The entire telco eco-system faces a new reality
3.1. Intensified bandwidth in times of pandemic
3.2. New Features on which end users are focusing their attention
3.3. Bandwidth reality, cable operators role and its capacity

4. Tools to guide the investment decision-making process
4.1. The dilemma: Where, when and how to make the move?
4.2. Current strategies observed at cable companies worldwide
4.3. Seven key strategies to be considered by cable operators in the near future

5. FTTH versus DOCSIS: Cost variables and investment scenarios for cable operators to consider
5.1. Investment scenario 1: Cable operators focused on optimising their HFC network
5.2. Investment scenario 2: Cable operators move towards FTTH networks
5.3. Investment scenario 3: The wise thinking is on convergence

6. DOCSIS, new game-changer for fixed broadband?
6.1. SWOT matrix
6.2. Will 10 Gbps even be needed in the next 10 years?
6.3. Where cable providers are focusing their investments for the next five to 10 years?
6.4. Market analysis

7. Conclusion

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

2. Where lies the future of multi-Gbps networks?
• DOCSIS 3.x subscriptions and homes passed, 2019-2024
• FTTH/B subscriptions and homes passed, 2019-2024
• Geographical breakdown of FTTH/B and DOCSIS 3.x subscribers, June 2020
• Trends in DOCSIS 3.x subscribers and homes passed in the USA, 2019-2024
• Key US cable providers, June 2020
• Breakdown of superfast access technologies in the USA, June 2020
• Breakdown of superfast broadband subscribers in Europe, June 2020
• DOCSIS subscriptions in main European cable markets, June 2020
• Technical capabilities, by type of network (from DSL to cable and FTTH)

3. The entire telco eco-system faces a new reality
• Throughput requirements for key Internet applications

4. Tools to guide the investment decision-making process
• Current strategies observed at cable companies worldwide

Geographic area

Europe North America
  • United States


  • AT&T
  • Altice USA
  • Charter Communications
  • Comcast
  • Commscope
  • Megacable
  • Microsoft
  • Midco
  • Schurz
  • TDC
  • Telenet
  • Teleste
  • UPC
  • Verizon
  • Virgin Media
  • Vodafone

Other details

  • Reference: M00006MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: English
  • Tags: Cable, cable operators, DOCSIS, fibre, FTTH, multi-Gbps networks

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