FTTH Council releases updated "U.S. Optical Fiber Communities" list

March 19, 2003--The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council has updated its running list of "U.S. Optical Fiber Communities" with 20 new communities, bringing the current total to 70 communities in 20 states. The list, which was prepared by Render, Vanderslice & Associates and first released in August 2002, tracks communities nationwide that are meeting growing consumer demand for broadband through FTTH solutions.

March 19, 2003--The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council has updated its running list of "U.S. Optical Fiber Communities" with 20 new communities, bringing the current total to 70 communities in 20 states. The list, which was prepared by Render, Vanderslice & Associates (Tulsa, OK) and first released in August 2002, tracks communities nationwide that are meeting growing consumer demand for broadband through FTTH solutions.

While many more communities are in the process of building FTTH networks, "U.S. Optical Fiber Communities" lists only those that are currently providing service to customers. The latest analysis shows that municipalities, public utility districts, new home developments, and competitive local carrier telephone companies (CLECs) continue to lead the FTTH revolution to date.

"With new FTTH communities coming on line and the growth of existing communities, an increasingly wide range of people are able to experience the most advanced applications that information technology has to offer," asserts Mike DiMauro, president of the FTTH Council. "Fiber's unparalleled bandwidth and value provide individuals and communities alike with numerous long-term social, educational, and economic benefits."

Although new "greenfield" housing developments continue to play a key role in FTTH deployments, the Render analysis debunks the myth that FTTH is primarily taking place in these new developments. "If you tally the homes passed so far in these new FTTH communities, nearly 80 percent are overbuilds of existing copper networks," contends Mike Render, principal of Render, Vanderslice & Associates.

"If we were going to overbuild, we wanted to do so with new technology, not an obsolete technology," explains Joe Blain, general manager for the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant in Taunton, MA. As one of the first Massachusetts sites on the list, Taunton has passed approximately 1,000 homes to date with fiber and is providing high-speed Internet services to approximately 15% of customers. In the near future, the municipality plans to use its FTTH network for meter reading, which will enable detailed, real-time, two-way communication with customers.

Another new community on the list is the Courts of St. Francis housing development in Purcellville, a bedroom community in Virginia located 50 miles south of Washington, D.C. According to Purcellville town manager Robert Lohr, many residents use their FTTH access to telecommute. "The average commute to Washington is approximately an hour, so telecommuting can give residents an extra 10 hours per week to spend with their family or serve their community. In another 10 years, I think we'll get to the point where FTTH access is something residents expect to have, rather than something that's nice to have," he adds.

The FTTH Council is a non-profit organization established in 2001 to educate the public on the opportunities and benefits of fiber-to-the-home solutions. For more information, visit the council's Web site at www.ftthcouncil.org.

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