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Telcos Saving Serious Money by Upgrading to FTTH, Survey Finds

by david.nunes

Telcos Saving Serious Money by Upgrading

to FTTH, Survey Finds

Report also points to 20 percent yearly increase in homes connected to all-fiber networks

(WASHINGTON) – Small and medium-sized telephone companies that have upgraded their networks to all-fiber are reporting operational cost savings averaging 20 percent annually, according to a study commissioned by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, a non-profit group of nearly 300 companies and organizations dedicated to expanding the availability of ultra high speed, all-fiber broadband.

The survey of more than 350 telecommunications providers across North America, conducted by the market analyst firm RVA LLC, also pointed to a steady drumbeat of FTTH deployment activity, with the number of homes that can access FTTH networks increasing by 17.6 percent over a year ago to 22.7 million.

The number of households connected with FTTH now stands at 9.7 million, an increase of more than 20 percent over April 2012.

Download statistical charts.

In the survey, the Council asked telecom managers to report any cost savings they are experiencing in maintaining their network infrastructure once they upgraded from copper in the last mile to all-fiber. On average, respondents estimated those savings to be 20.4 percent, largely because of a decrease in ongoing repair and maintenance.

“This latest survey shows not only the continued build-out of high-bandwidth fiber to the home networks in North America, but also provides one reason why hundreds of small and medium sized telcos have been upgrading to fiber – it saves them real money in the long run,” said Heather Burnett Gold, the FTTH Council’s President.

In recent years, fiber to the home connections have been expanding as telephone companies in particular look to improve their competitiveness by offering television programming and faster Internet, and as broadband providers in general prepare for ever-increasing consumer demand for more bandwidth and faster networks. Bandwidth demand is expected to continue to accelerate along with the emergence of sophisticated online applications for video over the Internet, online multi-player gaming, online education, work-at-home and telemedicine, as well as is the proliferation of Internet-connected devices in homes and businesses.

Although Verizon in the U.S. and Bell Aliant in Canada together are responsible for a large share of the FTTH connections on the continent, RVA has documented nearly 600 small and medium-sized telephone companies that have upgraded at least part of their subscriber base to all-fiber, as well nearly 100 municipalities that have deployed FTTH networks as a public utility. FTTH networks have also been deployed by a number of competitive broadband service providers.

From its survey, RVA documented a further increase in the number of very high bandwidth users, with more than 640 thousand North American households now receiving 100 megabit per second (mbps) service through an FTTH network, and many of them receiving that level of connectivity for both downloading and uploading. A number of FTTH providers are now offering gigabit connectivity to homes, most notably Google Fiber in Kansas City and EPB Chattanooga in Tennessee.

RVA found especially strong recent FTTH growth continuing in Canada, where more than 540 thousand homes are now connected into all-fiber networks, compared with about 100 thousand just three years ago. In addition, the survey showed renewed activity among real estate developers in building FTTH networks in planned communities, tracking the recent rebound in the housing construction market and a trend by builders of planned communities to install all-fiber networks in their new developments.

“While it is clear from our survey that many prospective FTTH providers continue to face funding difficulties and regulatory uncertainty, many are still finding ways to upgrade to all-fiber because doing so reduces their maintenance costs and strengthens their opportunities to expand their subscriber base and offer customers more services,” said Michael Render, President of RVA.

The FTTH Council, will be holding a special conference May 29-30 in Kansas City – From Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed – that is aimed at helping local telecoms and civic leaders learn what they can do to bring ultra high speed, all-fiber networks to their communities.

About the FTTH Council Americas
Now in its 12th year, the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council is a non-profit association consisting of companies and organizations that deliver video, Internet and/or voice services over high-bandwidth, next-generation, direct fiber optic connections – as well as those involved in planning and building FTTH networks. Its mission is to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks by demonstrating how fiber-enabled applications and solutions create value for service providers and their customers, promote economic development and enhance quality of life. More information about the Council can be found at www.ftthcouncil.org.

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