The initial wave of gigabit deployments by service providers was more about bragging rights than actually signing up customers, but that could start to change this year, according to a report by Deloitte Development LLC .
In the 15th edition of its Global Media Trends, Deloitte said that gigabit connections would increase tenfold this year. The total number of gigabit connections will reach 10 million by year-end, with about 70% of that total coming from residential connections.
The jump in gigabit subscribers is related to dropping prices and the increased availability of the faster speeds. Deloitte's report said that the number of Gbps tariffs nearly doubled in the last three quarters of 2015 from just over 80 to 150.
While those numbers are encouraging to service providers that have invested heavily in enabling gigabit speeds (AT&T, Google Fiber and Comcast come to mind) those 10 million subscribers represent a small percentage of the 250 million customers that subscribe to networks that are capable of delivering gigabit speeds by year-end.
Deloitte cited the increased number of devices and consumption of bandwidth, particularly video streaming, in homes as two factors that were fueling the growth of gigabit services.
On a related gigabit note, CableLabs announced on Wednesday that it had certified the first wave of cable modems as DOCSIS 3.1-compliant. Cable operators are banking on DOCSIS 3.1 to enable gigabit speeds. (See CableLabs Certifies First D3.1 Modems.)
Deloitte predicted that about 600 million subscribers would be on gigabit networks by 2020, with additional deployment announcements to take place this year.
As for voice services, Deloitte estimated that approximately 300 million customers would be using voice-over-WiFi and/or voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), which would be five times higher than at the beginning of 2015.
Deloitte expects 100 mobile operators will be offering at least one packet-based voice service by the end of the year, which is double the amount year-on-year, and six times higher than the start of last year.
— Mike Robuck, editor, Telco Transformation