Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said yesterday that the company’s fiber deployment now encompasses more than 60 cities outside of the company’s ILEC footprint, and it laid about 1,400 route miles of fiber per month on average in its second quarter 2019.
The 1,400 route miles is an uptick from the 1,000 route miles per month Verizon averaged in its first quarter 2019. Vestberg said Verizon is very focused on fiber because it’s a necessity for 5G and also for the company’s Intelligent Edge Network, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of Verizon’s Q2 earnings call with investors.
The Intelligent Edge Network is a multi-purpose, fiber-based network Verizon has been working on for about two years. The iEN enables Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G customer experience as well as its residential fiber broadband service.
In terms of its current fiber deployment, Vestberg said, “Right now, the majority of the fiber is going to our own sites.” But the company plans to leverage these new fiber deployments to sell fiber connectivity to enterprises and wholesale customers later this year.
He acknowledged that laying fiber is not easy work, and it involves getting permits from cities, which is important for laying fiber to small cells for 5G. “We have people all the way from working with the municipalities, working with engineering, planning, working with third parties,” he said. The demands on Verizon’s fiber teams were high, “but I think we have put the machine in place with a team that I have a lot of confidence in.”
Asked if deployments will continue to speed up, Vestberg said, “Not so much. Remember, we are almost on the higher volume where we believe we need to be in order to serve this market. So I think we have a machine right now that is actually executing very well on the high volume. I think now it's more about the broad deployment in all of these markets where we are right now deploying fiber."
During the second quarter, Verizon added 28,000 net Fios Internet subscribers, driven by demand for its fiber broadband products. But the company lost 52,000 Fios Video subscribers as consumers continue to adopt over-the-top video services to replace traditional linear video offerings.