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9M North American households now connected into fiber networks


February 25, 2013
By Alyssa Dalton

February 25, 2013 – The number of North American households connected directly into fiber networks has hit the 9 million mark, with small incumbent telephone companies continuing to lead the growth in fiber to the home deployments, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council Americas.

The Council noted that FTTH services are now available to 21.3 million North American homes, an increase of more than 10% over the past six months.
 
“While large providers such as Verizon in the U.S., Bell and Bell Aliant in Canada and Telmex in Mexico continue to be very important, small providers such as rural telcos, real estate developers, small competitive providers and even rural electric coops are playing a key role in driving the expansion of fiber to the home,” said Michael Render, president of RVA LLC, which tracks FTTH deployment for the Council.

In its analysis, RVA found all but eight of nearly 880 FTTH service providers surveyed have fewer than 30,000 subscribers, with only five having more than 50,000 access lines and 97% of them having fewer than 10,000. The most notable of the big FTTH providers is Verizon, which serves more than half of the FTTH households in North America.

RVA found there are now more than a half million households on the continent receiving Internet connectivity at or in excess of 100 megabits per second (mbps), and tested throughput speeds among survey respondents found FTTH subscribers beginning to pull away from other access technologies in both download and upload capacity. Median tested download speeds were above 20 mbps for FTTH subscribers, compared to less than 15 mbps for cable modem users, while FTTH upload speeds were over 9 mbps compared to about 3 mbps for cable.

“What we’re finding in our surveys is that the advantages of having an all-fiber infrastructure are now starting to be experienced by subscribers in very real ways,” said Heather Burnett Gold, president of the FTTH Council Americas.