Report: Business fiber reach expanding only slightly

MARCH 19, 2008 -- Business fiber availability increased a scant 5% in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007, according to Vertical Systems Group's latest research study @Fiber: U.S. Business Trends.

MARCH 19, 2008 -- Business fiber availability increased a scant 5% in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007, according to Vertical Systems Group's (search for Vertical Systems Group) latest research study @Fiber: U.S. Business Trends.

Fiber penetration now extends to 15.3% of U.S. commercial buildings with 20 or more employees, up from 10.2% in 2003. All remaining locations comprise the "fiber gap," or business locations with no fiber access facilities. Optical fiber is a key enabler for the delivery of broadband network services at speeds up to gigabit rates, including Business Ethernet, IP VPNs, VoIP, and IP video, according to Vertical Systems Group.

"Service providers cite fiber expansion as their top challenge to delivering business broadband offerings like Ethernet," said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Fiber gaps are closing, but not rapidly enough to meet market demand across all customer segments. Fiber penetration rates are substantially higher for large enterprises than SMBs, and this disparity widened in 2007. A positive trend for SMBs is that residential fiber build outs are extending accessibility to adjacent business sites, which are predominately small and medium enterprise locations."

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