Research conducted for the U.S. Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) by research firm RVA LLC suggests investment in fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) initiatives during the next five years will be almost double amounts for the previous five-years.
In total this could amount to more than $60 billion, but still someway short of the $70 billion increase in FTTH investment that consulting firm Cartesian said in its 2019 report was necessary to make FTTH available to 90% of U.S. homes.
The latest study suggest two main drivers for the surge in investment:
1. Quality, the report states “FTTH clearly offers the best consumer user experience versus other broadband delivery methods such as cable coax, telecom DSL, wireless, or satellite in terms of reliability, speed (up and down), and latency.”
2. Lower operational costs and churn for service providers.
The new report says that 2019 was the first year when fibre broadband served more homes than fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) or DSL and notes that as of 2020, more than 54 million U.S. homes have been passed with fibre, 10 percent growth over the previous year. However Mike Render, president of RVA LLC (who conducted the report) noted,
“In 2020, deployments were down a bit because larger providers, particularly AT&T, hit their targets for meeting their FCC commitment and paused.”
The majority of fibre build comes from Tier-1 telco’s – 67 percent of the FTTH build has been Tier-1 telcos – AT&T, Verizon, Frontier and Lumen (CenturyLink), but Tier-2’s including Consolidated Communications, Frontier Communications, Shentel, TDS Telecom and Windstream also have major expansion plans for FTTH in their territories.
Despite the growth, the U.S. is still far behind the leaders for fibre adoption. The latest figures (Q2 2020) from Statista shows fibre only comprises 16.5% of fixed broadband subscriptions in the U.S. compared to an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 29.2% and leader South Korea’s 83.9%.