The global fiber optics industry is evolving in 2021. In this industry report, we aim to explore these changes.
But we’ll also try to answer key questions about the optical fiber market:
- What is disrupting the industry?
- What new fiber optic technologies are emerging?
- Why are some companies investing in 5G fiber optics?
So if you want to learn more about the future of fiber optics technology and the changes these innovations are driving, then this report is for you.
A Fiber Optics Market Overview
In 2020, the global fiber optic cable industry was valued at $9.2 billion. The same cable industry analysis revealed that this figure is expected to reach $20.8 billion by 2026.
During this period (2021-2026), the fiber and telecom cable industry will register a CAGR of 14.5% according to forecasts.
The main driving force behind this growth is the increasing demand in the telecommunication and FTTx (fiber to the x) industries, as well as the recent disruption to business caused by COVID-19 and recent advancements in new fiber technology.
New Optical Technology
Two key technologies used in fiber optics are responsible for this global market growth:
#1 Optical fibers are getting smaller
To accommodate the deployment challenges of new tech innovations such as FTTx and 5G, fiber optics manufacturers had to redesign the optical fibers within the network cables.
This meant the companies had to raise the high fiber count while maintaining the same diameter, or in some cases even lowering it to meet the demands of end-users.
In April 2020, Prysmian became the first company to achieve this and released a cable portfolio to its consumers with the smallest optical fibers yet. Their optical fiber components have a diameter of just 180 µm (micrometers).
#2 Increasing popularity of submarine infrastructures
Submarine communications cables are fiber optic cable networks that are laid on the sea bed between two land-based stations.
The purpose of these underwater infrastructures is to carry telecommunication signals across large bodies of water.
To provide new users with reliable bandwidth-intensive services and attract new markets, a number of cloud content providers are increasing the global submarine cable infrastructure.
In fact, the number of new submarine cables is expected to grow by as much as 50% in 2021 according to TeleGeography’s submarine cable map.
As a result, there is around $8 billion worth of investments lined up to lay new submarine cables in 2021.
The Impact of COVID-19
Since the outbreak began in 2020, the coronavirus has had a profound effect on the 5G fiber optic cable market.
On the one hand, the change to a remote workplace increased the demand for high-capacity bandwidth.
On the other hand, the disruption caused by COVID-19 meant that manufacturers had to halt production, which significantly slowed down the supply chain of fiber optic components.
As a result, the global production of fiber optic cables fell by 25% during the pandemic (2020).
However, with China now allowing people to get back to work, the production figures this year are expected to surpass those before the outbreak.
Key Market Trends in the Fiber Optics Industry
As optical fiber cables (OFC) become the building blocks in modern business, several key trends in the industry will emerge:
First, the industry growth will coincide with the growth of the information technology and telecommunications industry.
As more IT and telecom companies emerge their bandwidth demands will increase and fiber optics will become the preferred medium used to transmit data.
At the same time, advanced technologies such as 5G, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have to collect and transfer large quantities of data in real-time. This will also require systems that support high bandwidth levels.
When it comes to demand, the biggest share of the fiber optics industry is expected to reside in the Asia-Pacific market.
China currently dominates the global market. In 2019, 91% of its entire broadband network was connected by fiber optics, which makes it the leader in FTTP.
As emerging markets like India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East open themselves to the global market, and to China’s sphere of influence, the dominance of the A-PAC market will only rise in the fiber optics industry.
If you’d like to find out more about the fiber optics industry, please continue reading our blog.
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