While Fiber to the Home (FTTH) is far from ubiquitous, a new report from the FTTH Council Americas showed that service providers made decent progress in 2011, growing their networks 13 percent.
The council's report, which was put together in partnership with market analyst firm RVA, revealed that 900,000 homes throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean were upgraded to FTTH service since April 2011 with the total number of North American homes with fiber-based connections surpassing 8 million.
Led by the United States, FTTH service is now being offered to 19.3 million homes on the continent.
An estimated 95 percent of households that have FTTH are in the United States, a country that started to see the availability of the service beginning in 2004 when Verizon (NYSE: VZ) began its FiOS rollout. Another market that's also seeing new growth is Canada, where aggressive service providers such as Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) and Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) are rolling out fiber to more homes.
Outside of the large service providers like Verizon, almost 1,000 smaller telcos that operate in mainly rural areas are replacing their copper plant with fiber to offer both higher speeds and video service to compete with local cable operators that are offering higher speed DOCSIS data services and voice.
Rounding out the U.S. FTTH market players are municipal service providers such as Chattanooga-based EPB Fiber and Lafayette, La.'s LUS Broadband offering 1 Gbps FTTH services to businesses and consumers.
One of the interesting side benefits of having fiber-based networks, argues the FTTH Council, is that towns and cities that have FTTH are seeing new economic opportunities and creating incentives for businesses to move to those municipalities.
RVA said in a recent survey that "58 percent of FTTH providers reported seeing increased local economic activity related to the availability of more robust, all-fiber networks they have deployed."
LUS Fiber, for example, said its fiber network is going to "make our community a place where technology companies want to locate."
- see the release
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