North America reaches new record for fibre-to-the-home growth
The Fiber Broadband Association has released the results from its 2023 North America Fiber Provider Survey, performed by RVA LLC Market Research & Consulting (RVA) (Connect World/Shutterstock.com)
The Fiber Broadband Association has released the results from its 2023 North America Fiber Provider Survey, performed by RVA LLC Market Research & Consulting (RVA).
The survey found that 2023 set a new record for the highest annual fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) growth, with nine million homes newly passed by network operators this year alone.
The survey also details several categories of progress, such as the record reach of FTTH. It found that FTTH homes passed and being marketed to consumers in the U.S. grew 13% in 2023 to 78 million homes. Fibre broadband now passes nearly 69 million unique U.S. homes (excluding second or third passings of the same home). Fibre optic network providers in the U.S. are currently experiencing a 45.4% average take rate versus unique homes passed and some report significant first-year take-rate improvement in 2023.
Looking at Canada, overall passings had 12% growth in 2023 to 12.1 million, according to the report. Fibre now passes 11.2 million unique Canadian homes and fibre uptake in Canada is estimated at 44.6% (including incumbent providers and alternative providers using fibre installed by others).
The growth of alternative fibre optic network providers in the U.S.
The association additionally found that the diversity in type of provider is increasing, most notably with the introduction of rural electric fibre broadband providers within the last five years. While their overall share of homes passed is currently the smallest at 2.2%, rural electric providers have quickly entered the fibre optic broadband market and now almost match homes passed by municipalities at 2.7%. Incumbent telephone tier 1 & derivative providers still currently lead with 64.7% of homes passed; incumbent telephone tier 2 & 3 providers have 11.3% of homes passed; private competitive alternative providers/competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) have 9.9%; and MSO/cable operators have 9.1%.
Significantly, fibre broadband has now officially passed the half-way point in the full-fibre coverage in the U.S., now passing 51.5% of primary homes in the. Fibre optic broadband also passes a growing percentage of second homes or short-term rentals. RVA estimates the total available market remaining for FTTH may be more than 100 million homes including second and third passings in many areas, and there is likely a decade of deployment at or above the current momentum.
The challenges of FTTH deployment in the U.S.
However, the association warns that challenges still remain, particularly for the smaller providers, based on this year’s survey. The largest perceived challenge amongst the providers polled is the availability of skilled workers and quality of contractors, followed by rising construction costs, materials concerns, permitting, BEAD regulations, and more.
Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association says: “We’ve known for years that the benefits of fibre outweigh any other broadband technology available, but it is always refreshing to have this annual survey validate those facts. Year after year, our research demonstrates the growing preference for fibre and the increased success of the fibre broadband ecosystem in extending the reach of high-quality broadband networks. The latest rounds of federal and private investments will serve as huge propellants to the next round of fibre broadband success. We are proud to be a foundational partner to the fibre broadband industry and provide the guidance and resources needed to overcome challenges and connect every community to reliable broadband and the opportunities it delivers.”
Find out what Gary Bolton, President and CEO at the Fiber Broadband Association and Vincent Garnier, Director General at the FTTH Council Europe have to say about the state of play for FTTH deployments in Europe and America, and what needs to be done in the next 12 months to meet each markets’ ambitious targets.