SAN JOSE, Calif. – U.S. carriers are expected shrink their capital equipment budgets as availability of broadband networks plateaus, according to an updated report from researchers at the Columbia Business School.
Carriers spent at estimated $64 billion in 2009 on gear for their networks and about $62 billion last year, a figure expected to decline to about $55 billion a year over the next few years, said the report from the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI). The decline comes as carriers shift to expanding the capacity of their existing systems rather than deploying entirely new nets, the report said.
Spending specifically on broadband is predicted to be flat at about $33 billion per year for the next few years. That's about the level of spending in 2008, but up from 2009 when it dipped to $31.3 billion.
The CITI report predicts that by 2014, wired broadband service will be available to about 95 percent of U.S. homes with at least a low speed of wired broadband service. Ninety percent of U.S. homes could have 50 Mbits/second data rates available by the end of 2012, it said.
Wireless broadband service at speeds of five to 12 Mbits/s downstream should be available to about 94 percent of U.S. consumers by 2013, the report said.
Adoption of broadband service will continue to lag substantially behind its availability. About 69 percent of households will subscribe to wired broadband by 2015, and 53 percent of the population will subscribe to wireless broadband services by 2013, the report said.
About five to ten million U.S. homes--4.5 to nine percent of households--will have will have wireless or wired broadband services available only at speeds that are substantially lower than the speeds available to the rest of the country. Some of these homes will have no choice except satellite broadband, which has some performance attributes that make it less satisfactory for many applications than a terrestrial broadband service, the report said.