FTTH-based broadband passed 35M homes in 2017, RVA study finds

Both incumbents and competitive telecom providers made progress with FTTH deployments. (Image: Flickr)

FTTH-based broadband may still be far from ubiquitous, but efforts by large telcos, cable operators and municipal providers resulted in 35 million new homes being passed by fiber in 2017.

During that period, new RVA research revealed an additional 4.4 million homes were marketed with FTTH services—which the research firm says is the “most ever in a single year” and 15% over 2016—resulting in 15.4 million American households now taking all fiber.

The research firm said that rapid growth of fiber networks in North America is a product of the increased participation of smaller FTTH providers as well as increased consumer demand, reflected in FTTH’s continued progress despite a general lack of specific government funding.

RELATED: Fiber-based broadband raises MDU rental values by 8 percent, says FTTH Council

Deployment growth from the largest providers grew at a rate of 14.1%, while the smaller providers had 16.5% deployment growth.

Incumbent telcos like AT&T and even smaller providers like Cincinnati Bell made progress with their FTTH deployments in 2017.

AT&T, which has set a goal to bring FTTH services to over 12.9 million homes by 2019, could equip an additional 3.5 million sites with FTTH next year. In all, AT&T said it could reach a total of about 14 million FTTP customer locations.

As of the end of the third quarter, AT&T announced that its latest target market for expansion was Tulsa, Oklahoma, noting that customers in certain select areas of Tulsa, Jenks, Owasso and "surrounding communities" now have access to the ultrafast service. After bringing FTTP to Tulsa, the service provider said it has now deployed gigabit fiber to parts of 55 metro areas nationwide, with plans to reach at least 75 metros eventually.

On a smaller scale, Cincinnati Bell has continued to expand the availability of its Fioptics fiber-based service throughout more parts of its territory.

The service provider passed an additional 23,000 new addresses with the service in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, Fioptics Internet penetration rate reached 38% this quarter, up from the same quarter last year, despite a 5% increase in ARPU.