Fiber Internet Build-Out strong going into 2021

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

As 2020 ends, fiber internet stands at a solid second place of home availability, reaching about 54 million homes in the United States, only being surpassed by the cable industry, at least in terms of overall availableness.

Mike Render, CEO of RVA LLC, speaking on behalf of the FBA (Fiber Broadband Association) stated that the latest Network Operators and Consumer Research annual study (conducted by Render himself), revealed not only this but also those small internet providers were critical for this development since 88% of the total investment was made by these small providers.

A graph belonging to this study shows that Verizon’s major build setup accounted for most of the fiber internet deployment record met in 2008, while the next peak was achieved in 2019, after AT&T fulfilled its obligations with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) providing 12.5 million U.S homes with service, as a result of their merge with DirecTV.

During “Fiber for Breakfast”, an FBA’s webinar, he also stated that this difference comes from increased deployment and not from increased adoption as one could think. In other words, it is thanks to the preparation and arrangement that these providers made fiber internet availability in the U.S. reach the point where it stands now.

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“Tier 2 and Tier 3 ISPs were very strong this year,” said Render during the webinar (These being the Internet Service Providers that directly grant service to consumers), specifying that over 66% of fiber deployment still relies on Tier 1 ISPs. (These being big providers that enable Tier 2 and Tier 3 networks to offer their services in turn).

Many of the U.S. providers are now aware of the huge advantages of high speed fiber internet, like lack of technology turnaround and low operational expenses.

Render’s speech also caused some polemic between ISPs, since he said that many of the providers that are now adhering to the Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (Where the debtor usually proposes a reorganization plan to keep their business alive) could have avoided their situation if they had deployed fiber networks when they needed to.

The first Network Operations and Consumer Research of 2021 showed a decrease in fiber deployment rates, but Render ensures that this is due to major Tier 1 providers such as CenturyLink and Verizon making fewer deployment efforts after hitting their goals, however, he’s optimistic about the next year.

“AT&T says they’re going to invest $2 to $4 billion in fiber next year to keep subscriber counts at the right level,” said Render, adding that he’s sure that their competitors will follow to maintain competitiveness.

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Not only is the fiber broadband network fundamental to meet the always-increasing demand, but also, the consumer’s need for high-quality broadband services is clearer now than it has ever been.

Hopefully, this increased investment will help mitigate Texas fiber expansion halt due to the depletion of the Texas Universal Service Fund during 2020, which was set to provide more than a million Texans with basic internet and phone services.

Some people see this as the unavoidable march towards technological development, since now, during the pandemic, high-quality internet services are more important than ever, and will surely continue to be in the future.

Have you been benefited through 2020 with this massive fiber network broadband expansion? Or do you know anyone that has? What do you think of these deployment peaks?