Gigabit FTTH service users profiled in FTTH Council report

The Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas has announced a report that attempts to profile users of the small but growing array of 1-Gbps FTTP-enabled service offerings worldwide. The report makes the case that for an increasing number of users, 1 Gbps downstream is a necessity rather than a luxury.

The Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas has announced a report that attempts to profile users of the small but growing array of 1-Gbps FTTH-enabled service offerings worldwide. The report makes the case that for an increasing number of users, 1 Gbps downstream via FTTH is a necessity rather than a luxury.

“Residential Gigabit Subscribers: Services, Applications and Attitudes” is a collaboration between Telecom ThinkTank (the shop of former FTTH Council Americas president Joe Savage) and the council’s go-to research firm, RVA LLC. The two companies compiled the report after researching 1-Gbps service offerings and surveying users of such services.

Particularly in the United States, many of the 1-Gbps offerings – typically from rural or regional carriers such as EPB Fiber in Chattanooga, TN; Paxio and Sonic.net in California; and, most recently, Lafayette Utilities in Lafayette, LA – target business customers. The number of home users worldwide remains in the hundreds, the report affirms – but suggests this number should grow significantly, particularly as more operators offer such services. RVA estimates that in the U.S. alone, more than 20 providers have 1-Gbps services on the near-term roadmap.

Not surprisingly, the typical 1-Gbps subscriber operates a fairly complex home network that supports five or more devices; in the U.S., 12 percent of such users network 10 or more. They’re online an average of 8 hours per day (versus the general average of 2.5 hour daily), and require high-speed connections in the upstream direction as well as downstream. In fact, Hong Kong Broadband reports that its gigabit subscribers use 3X more upload bandwidth than download, to post HD photos and videos and use cloud computing and video conferencing services. As most providers offer symmetrical 1-Gbps services, the FTTH networks can accommodate such usage.

The price for gigabit service ranges from $26 per month from Hong Kong Broadband to $560 per month from Turkcell in Turkey. None of the gigabit-service operators reported the use of bandwidth caps.

"Essentially, this study confirmed what one might expect, that those who subscribe to gigabit services have multiple applications in play at all times, including social networking, HD downloads, and streaming media via Netflix, Hulu, and other sources, all while they participate in several multiplayer online games through multiple consoles," said Heather Burnett Gold, president of the FTTH Council Americas.

The report is available from the FTTH Council Americas website.

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