A forecast by GlobalData suggests fixed wireless access (FWA) technology will more than double its subscription market share among US broadband technologies

Since the onset of the 5G era roughly three years ago, success stories for the new technology have been few and far between.

In fact, one of the biggest successes of 5G is not using the technology in conjunction with a smartphone at all, but rather using the more powerful mobile network to provide home broadband services in the form of FWA.

Reports earlier this year suggested that interest in FWA is booming in US, with the technology accounting for roughly 90% of the 3.5 million new broadband subscriptions added in 2022.

Now, an updated report from GobalData exploring the US broadband market suggests that this growth will continue, with FWA set to amount for 15.8% of all US broadband connections in 2028, up from for 7.2% in 2023.

The report noted the technology’s easy installation and flexibility as key advantages, noting that the technology is an increasingly viable option for homes and businesses that do not yet have access to fibre networks.

“Easy self-installation and affordability, combined with high reliability and performance, thanks to underlying 5G technology, are among FWA’s selling points, but so is the fact that FWA offers a new service choice versus existing solutions from incumbent service providers. Additionally, FWA is suitable for both primary and backup internet service and can be deployed in locations where internet service may only be needed temporarily,” explained GlobalData’s Principal Analyst Tammy Parker.

The report also noted, however, that FWA will ultimately have a hard time competing with the speed and reliability of fibre broadband – a technology that is set to become increasingly available throughout the US in the next five years due to the enormous amount of public funding being delivered as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Fiber presents a significant challenge as it is highly reliable and can deliver the symmetrical multigigabit speeds that are increasingly demanded by consumers and businesses. Additionally, fibre deployment is gaining momentum as government subsidies lead to an unprecedented expansion of the nation’s fibre broadband infrastructure, leading this technology’s share of the market to grow from 19.5% in 2023 to 24.7% in 2028,” added Parker.

But despite the rise of fibre, FWA is sure to remain a complementary technology for many years to come, particularly in hard-to-reach areas where deploying fibre is unfeasible.

This increase in FWA’s popularity is not a purely US phenomenon. In India, for example, Bharti Airtel recently launched the country’s first 5G FWA offering, noting that just 34 million of the 303 million households in the country currently had access to fibre and so presented a major opportunity for FWA.

How is the rise of FWA impacting the US broadband market? Join the operators in discussion at Connected America 2024

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