For much of the last decade, the lack of business fiber connections was often cited as an opportunity for new service providers and an embarrassment for those that had been around for a while and could have done better addressing the market. Density of fiber connections among U.S. businesses was regularly measured at well below 10 percent.
Image source: Vertical Systems Group
Things have changed, according to statistics available from market research firm Vertical Systems Group's Emerging Network Service, which says the business fiber gap is starting to close, albeit very slowly. VSG said today that optical fiber facilities now reach 36.1 percent of U.S. commercial buildings, a dramatic improvement over just a few years ago and about triple the percentage of connected buildings in 2004. However, that means almost 64 percent of commercial buildings still reside in a 'Fiber Gap,' VSG said.
VSG noted that direct fiber is the preferred vehicle for Carrier Ethernet services, and that the growing market and ongoing demand for Ethernet suggest the fiber gap will continue to narrow. Still, connecting businesses with fiber continues to be expensive, depending on location, building conditions and other factors.
The gap is indeed closing, but very slowly, and in the meantime, Ethernet over copper (EoC) is becoming a more viable and economical alternative to fiber in some cases. It will be interesting to see if business fiber connections continue to grow at a strong rate, or if a technology like EoC can make the need for direct fiber less dire.
- here's the press release
Special Report: Ethernet over copper is making a dent in the Ethernet market
Fiber carriers like tw telecom and Level 3 have led the Ethernet market