October 6, 2008 -- The upgrading of North America's last mile networks with end-to-end fiber is continuing at a robust pace, with fiber to the home (FTTH) arriving at more than 1.6 million households over the past year, according to a study released by the Fiber-to-the-Home Council. The total number of FTTH subscribes in North America now stands at 3.76 million.
The updated deployment statistics were announced at the FTTH 2008 Conference & Expo, held last month in Nashville, TN. The study, by RVA Market Research, pegged the annual growth rate for FTTH in North America at 76%, the highest of any country or region in the world.
The study also shows FTTH networks now passing 13.8 million North American homes, up from 9.55 million a year ago. The number of homes receiving video services over FTTH more than doubled over the past year, from slightly more than one million in September 2007 to nearly 2.2 million today. Meanwhile, the overall "take rate"--the percentage of those offered FTTH service who decide to subscribe--went up for the fifth straight six-month period, and now stands at more than 30%.
"This continued growth in the number of connections and in the take rate is evidence of what consumers think about fiber to the home--it is fast becoming the technology of choice for receiving high-bandwidth Internet and superior video services," contends Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council. "In addition, we are continuing to see enormously high customer satisfaction rates for FTTH services when compared to other types of broadband and video providers."
The study also found that average data download speeds for FTTH subscribers continued to rise--to 7 Mbits/sec from 5.2 Mbits/sec a year ago--as providers increased available bandwidth in their service offerings. This compares to a median real-time Internet download speed of 2.3 Mbits/sec among all Internet users, as determined by the Communications Workers of America in their recent Speed Matters survey of more than 230,000 people.
Mike Render of RVA LLC, who authored the study, notes that the sustained high growth rate for FTTH connections is disproving many of the claims that skeptics made about the technology just a few years ago.
"They said FTTH would never work for overbuilds, in rural areas, in multi-tenant buildings or in places where there was already competition to provide these services," he recalls. "They said no one would ever need or pay for 7 megabits of download speed. And now we are finding that those concerns are not panning out."