U.S. fiber penetration reaches 39.3 percent of buildings, says VSG

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Ongoing aggressive rollouts of fiber by a host of incumbent telcos, CLECs and cable operators throughout 2013 has helped to narrow the U.S. fiber gap by expanding facilities to 39.3 percent of commercial buildings with 20 or more employees, according to new research from Vertical Systems Group.

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Fiber penetration reaches 39.3% of U.S. commercial buildings with 20+ employees.

Despite this progress, the remaining 60.7 percent of buildings still do not have access to fiber.

What was interesting about the past year was that service providers invested their capital on bringing facilities to smaller buildings outside of the Tier 1 cities to provide a foundation for higher bandwidth cloud and Ethernet services.

"The majority of new fiber deployments were focused on connecting medium and smaller buildings in the metro areas surrounding major cities across the U.S.," said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Broader accessibility to on-net fiber has started to shake up the services markets."

The three top ILECs, including AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), continued to roll out fiber to more buildings over the past year.

Through its Project VIP initiative, AT&T continues to expand its on-net building footprint. In its home state of Texas, the telco extended fiber to 588 multi-tenant business buildings in Dallas and another 483 in Houston, for example.

No less aggressive was CenturyLink. Over the past year, the telco added more than 1,000 fiber-fed buildings into its multi-tenant unit (MTU) program. In February, it began offering its 1 Gbps GPON service to Salt Lake City-area small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) that reside in multi-tenant unit (MTU) office buildings.

Besides the incumbent telcos, cable operators such as Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cox and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) continue to ramp up on-net fiber penetration to target SMBs and medium-sized businesses with Ethernet and other IP-based offerings.

Cox Business, which was one of the early movers in the business services market, currently has a mix of 28,000 fiber lit buildings, 400,000 fiber near-net buildings and over 300,000 HFC serviceable buildings. Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable has 58,000 fiber lit buildings and Charter has more than 10,000, mainly in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets.

Cable's ongoing fiber build strategy has enabled it to advance into the more complex medium-sized business market that desires alternative providers for fiber-based service.

For more:
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