Rural broadband providers embracing fiber says NTCA study

According to a study released last week by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, a growing number of rural independent telecom providers are using fiber to the home (FTTH) to deliver broadband services.

According to a study released last week by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, a growing number of rural independent telecom providers are using fiber to the home (FTTH) to deliver broadband services.

FTTH and other fiber-deep architectures such as fiber to the node (FTTN), are growing in popularity for rural broadband service provision, according to the “NTCA 2014 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report.” The report shows that the number of survey respondents who have deployed fiber and serve at least half their subscribers via FTTH has reached 45%, up 4% from the 41% who reported using this strategy in 2013.

This figure should continue to grow over the next several years. The NTCA reports that 85% of the 128 survey respondents said they have a long-term strategy to deploy fiber. Of these respondents, 74% plan to serve more than three-quarters of their subscribers via FTTN and 67% plan to serve half their subscribers via FTTH by the end of 2017. An additional 25% said they're already serving all of their customers with FTTH.

As has been typical in the NTCA's broadband surveys, respondents cited deployment cost as the most significant obstacle to greater fiber deployments. Other barriers included regulatory uncertainty, long loops, current regulations, obtaining financing, low customer demand, fiber order fulfillment delays, and obtaining cost-effective equipment.

However, when the total number of customers served via each technology is tallied, FTTH comes out on top, serving 39%. The rest of the breakdown sees 31% served via copper loops, 18% cable modem, 12% fiber to the node (FTTN), 0.5% licensed fixed wireless, and 0.1% satellite.

"NTCA member companies are proven broadband solutions providers for the communities where they live and work and these survey results demonstrate that once again as they continue to take steps to deploy fiber further out into their networks," said NTCA Economist Rick Schadelbauer, the report's author. "They do this in spite of the often significant challenges they face in order to better serve their customers."

The full report is available via the NTCA website.

For more information on FTTx equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

More in FTTH/B