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  • Fiber, Cable Maker Landscape Rapidly Changing
Feb 2003
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 6 -- Fiber and cable manufacturers are facing a rapidly changing landscape since the collapse of the telecom market, according to a report by KMI Research, Worldwide Markets for Optical Fiber and Fiberoptic Cable: Market Developments and Forecast.

The report shows that plant closings have reduced the number of fiber manufacturing facilities from a peak of 65 in 2000, to 46 that were operational for at least part of 2002. Recent plant closings mean that the number of facilities could decrease again in 2003, the report said.

He said recent industry turmoil is revealed not only in capacity and production data, but also in the report's assessment of installations, sales, inventories, prices, net imports and exports and application and geographic segments.

The shift in applications and its effect on the market is due mainly to the collapse of long-distance telecom markets, especially in the US and western Europe. In 2002, terrestrial (not submarine) long-distance applications used 12 million km of cabled fiber, down from 26 million km in 2001 and 36 million km in 2000.

Fay said another important aspect of the market's restructuring is the shift away from North America and Western Europe to Asia. For most of the 1990s and in 2000, the US had 37 percent of worldwide fiber optic cable installations. In 2002, it had fallen to 21 percent. The amount of cable installed in the US and western Europe was 59 percent of the worldwide total in 2000, and this dropped to 34 percent in 2002. The fiber installed in the Asia-Pacific region was 54 percent of the worldwide total in 2002, and this percentage will remain above 50 percent throughout the five-year forecast.

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