The global dark fiber network market had a revenue holding of USD 5,408 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 11,104 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.41% during the forecast period (2022–2030). One of the current inventions that have developed over time is fiber optics technology, which results from in-depth research and development carried out by scientists and researchers worldwide. The technology has been a boon for various applications and has expanded the number of innovations. Dark fibers, also known as unlit fibers, are unused optical fibers that can be used for fiber-optic communication. A network service provider can lease out dark fiber. Originally, dark fiber referred to the network capacity of telecommunications equipment. A dark fiber network is essentially an unlit Point-to-Point connection comprised of new fiber optic lines with no service or traffic running on them. Dark fiber has a lot of benefits, one of which is that it gives companies control over their IT infrastructure and, more crucially, lets them manage capacity and grow as needed because fiber is infinite.
Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or DWDM, is another possibility made possible by dark fiber. DWDM effectively divides the fiber into individual wavelengths across the spectrum to increase capacity, which can be advantageous for industries like media, manufacturing, and banks that require large amounts of data. Due to ongoing research and development efforts and the rising need for high bandwidth communication and data services, the dark fiber network has become more well-known over the past few years. The technology is constantly being researched and developed to create low-cost applications and technical solutions for the general public. The healthcare, railroad, defense & aerospace, and oil & gas industries have a wide range of applications that might greatly benefit from incorporating dark fiber networks. The military and aerospace industries' increasing reliance on data security has accelerated this technology's development and adoption.
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Growing Penetration of the Internet and the Need for Higher Bandwidth
Over the past few years, the number of people using internet services has significantly increased worldwide. Wi-Fi, mobile (3G, 4G, LTE), and fixed broadband are some of these internet services. Numerous variables, such as the development of the infrastructure, the use of smartphones, and the decline in the cost of internet access, among others, can be attributed to the increase in internet usage. By 2023, nearly two-thirds of the world's population will have internet access, forecasts Cisco Systems, Inc. The need for internet bandwidth has increased as internet services become more widely used. Further fueling this need are expanding cloud-based applications, soaring demand for audio-video streaming, and Video-on-Demand (VoD) services.
Telecom service providers are forced to buy the existing dark fiber and concentrate on developing their fiber network due to the regulated demand for mobile data and the anticipated arrival of 5G services. As a result, the demand for dark fibers will grow dramatically during the next few years. Many internet service providers are investing in expanding the fiber optic infrastructure in their regions due to the significant demand for bandwidth from the consumer sector. For instance, one of the top Indian telecoms firms, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., contacted Bharat Broadband Network Limited in 2017 to lease dark fiber installed by the latter.
Additionally, the growth of the fiber infrastructure is being supported and funded by governments of developing countries. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) reports that 2.6 million kilometers (1.6 million miles) of fiber optic cable were installed nationwide in 2015. This development opened up several expansion prospects, allowing internet service providers to lease these fiber networks to supply their clients with high-speed internet services. Dark fiber is frequently built on purpose in preparation for potential future use cases, such as developing smart cities using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
Lack of Dark Fiber and Impact of Anti-Municipal Broadband Legislation
The long-haul fiber-optic cable network in the United States has been installed over 130,000 miles, although a sizable percentage of it is still unutilized. Although the country has a sizable number of dark fibers, not all locations have access to the dark fiber network. Given that the infrastructure is not evenly distributed around the nation in response to demand, the accessibility of black fiber is a crucial concern.
Many companies are considering renting dark fiber since it is an affordable way to increase the networking capabilities of small firms. However, the businesses rely on conventional network infrastructure provided by telecommunications carriers in areas where the dark fiber network is unavailable. According to the report, only 25% of American consumers have direct access to a fiber-optic network. As a result, market participants are constrained by the absence of dark fiber networks.
Increased Emphasis on Technology for 5G Mobile Backhaul Network Upgrades
Ultra-high definition (UHD) video, smooth video calling, and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games are just a few of the application cases where 5G technology is anticipated to improve user experience. As many businesses, including Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., ZTE Corporation, Nokia, and Ericsson, aggressively focus on implementing 5G radio access networks, the globe is on the edge of implementing 5G services. Network availability, diversity, and coverage are the leading performance targets for these businesses for a successful rollout of 5G services. A sizable number of fiber paths that are connected can help accomplish all of these objectives. Therefore, the businesses must create a scalable 5G infrastructure.
As and when necessary, several companies are installing optical fiber to link many macro and small cells in areas where they plan to upgrade those cell sites to 5G in the upcoming years. The 5G radio access network (RAN) backhaul traffic is expected to be extremely high. Since building fiber infrastructure demands a substantial upfront investment, many businesses are leaning toward renting dark fibers to save expenses. Mobile operators are discussing the leasing of dark fiber for 5G mobile backhauling in several different countries with providers of fiber optic infrastructure. Additionally, businesses are merging and buying other companies to create the essential 5G infrastructure. Consequently, creating market expansion potential.
The global dark fiber network market is segregated into fiber type, network type, application, and region.
By fiber type, the global dark fiber network market is divided into Single-mode and Multi-mode.
The Multi-mode section will likely grow at a CAGR of 9.87% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. It offers the ability to operate at longer light wavelengths. It can transmit signals up to a distance of approximately 500 meters. Although there is a certain amount of signal loss in multi-mode fibers, they are less expensive than single-mode fibers. Short transmission distances work well for this type. It is mainly utilized in LAN and video surveillance systems.
The Single-mode section will hold the second-largest market share. It can be utilized for installations over extended distances of 10,000 meters. Compared to its multi-mode and plastic equivalents, it offers little power loss. Optic fiber that is single-mode costs more than multi-mode fiber or plastic fiber. It functions best across greater transmission distances. It is mainly utilized in long-distance and multi-channel television broadcast systems.
By network type, the global dark fiber network market is divided into Metro and Long-haul.
The Long-haul section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 9.1% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. It is a global terrestrial optical fiber network that links cities and nations. Usually, these networks have a length of between a few hundred and several thousand kilometers. Due to its ability to connect across long distances with low signal intensity, the segment is gaining momentum. Such long-haul terrestrial networks are frequently used for underwater cable over great oceanic distances, luring several firms to participate in investments.
The Metro section will hold the second-largest market share. It links diverse structures and businesses in a metropolitan area to provide high-speed connectivity. High-speed data transmission using a light impulse is used.
By application, the global dark fiber network market is divided into Telecom, Oil & Gas, Military & Aerospace, BFSI, Medical, Railway, and Others.
The Telecom section will likely grow at a CAGR of 8.48% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. Due to the increased usage of 5G technology in communication and data transmission services, the telecommunications industry is projected to have significant growth prospects. High-speed data transfer services in both short- and long-range communications are made possible by dark fiber.
The Military & Aerospace section will hold the second-largest market share. The regulatory authorities of powerful nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, and Japan are investing in national security frameworks. Increasing awareness among the rapidly rising nations to strengthen their international presence and influence. This forces governments to invest heavily in developing technology, notably fiber networks, to enhance the telecom industry's security.
APAC Acquires Leading Market Position
By region, the global dark fiber network market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
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Asia-Pacific will command the market, expanding at a CAGR of 11.75% during the forecast period. Due to technological developments and widespread implementation of the technology in the information technology, telecommunications, and administrative sectors, Asia-Pacific is generating revenue growth. The manufacturing industry has a high level of technological adoption, and the IT and telecom industries are growing throughout Asia, enhancing the region's market position. Additionally, the growing use of fiber networks in the medical sector is accelerating development in nations like China, Japan, and India and rapidly driving global demand.
North America will likely advance at a CAGR of 7.61% and hold USD 2,841 million by 2030. The ongoing technological advancement in the telecommunications sector and the demand for significant data handling in the manufacturing and logistics sectors contribute to the market's expansion in this area. Major North American nations, including the United States and Canada, also have a sizable capacity for dark fiber network services. The need for faster internet technology, changing lifestyles, and rising income levels are key factors boosting demand for dark fiber in North America.