Smaller telcos lead FTTH charge with 9M U.S. homes connected

While Tier 1 telcos like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) boast the largest fiber networks in the United States, regional ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) are doing much of the heavy lifting in getting homes connected to fiber--and they're succeeding, with approximately 9 million U.S. homes directly connected to fiber, according to the FTTH Council Americas.

The organization announced its findings at its annual conference in Dallas this week.

RVA LLC, which conducted the study for the FTTH Council, surveyed 880 FTTH providers in North America. Most are comparatively small, with fewer than 30,000 subscribers--in fact, 97 percent have less than 10,000 subs.

"While large providers such as Verizon in the U.S., Bell (NYSE: BCE) and Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) in Canada and Telmex in Mexico continue to be very important, small providers such as rural telcos, real estate developers, small competitive providers and even rural electric coops are playing a key role in driving the expansion of fiber to the home," said Michael Render, president of RVA LLC, in an FTTH Council release.

Adding to the benefits that fiber connectivity brings to their customers is the fact that more than 500,000 households on the continent are getting speeds of at least 100 Mbps. The Council noted that "tested throughput speeds among survey respondents found FTTH subscribers beginning to pull away from other access technologies in both download and upload capacity."

Fiber is beginning to take hold in Latin America as well, with 4.2 million homes passed in the region and 350,000 houses connected. IDATE conducted the regional study for FTTH Council Americas LATAM chapter. Providers in the region prefer FTTH over FTTB (fiber to the building), the study concluded, with GPON (gigabit passive optical networks) used in more than 80 percent of deployments.

For more:
- see the release

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