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Forecast: Fiber, Copper Continue Tight Competition

AUSTIN, Texas, May 21, 2014 — Optical fiber for data centers will drive growth in the North American network cabling market this year, according to a forecast by IHS Inc.

The copper market remains more than twice as large as the fiber market, but IHS forecasts that fiber in 2014 will grow at a rate of 6.2 percent, faster than copper’s predicted growth rate of 3.8 percent.

While fiber continues to become more competitive, manufacturers and standards boards continue developing copper products that provide increased quality and speeds. IHS predicts that advanced copper products will continue to compete with fiber in the near term.

Overall network cabling revenue in North America is forecast to grow 4.5 percent in 2014, IHS predicts. The organization’s study looks at both copper and fiber cable and connector products used in an IT capacity in data center, LAN and industrial applications.

IHS analyst Sarah McElroy said there has been “a very gradual shift that continues to occur from copper products to fiber products.” Within both the copper and fiber markets, she said, customers are transitioning to higher-priced products, which supports revenue growth.

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