NTCA's Broadband/Internet Availability Survey confirms FTTH/fiber network expansion

Dec. 5, 2022
Annual NTCA report finds rural broadband providers increasing speeds on fiber networks.
Ntca Logo 638e4b318f3f3

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today released its “2022 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report,” highlighting the ongoing efforts of rural broadband providers to deliver better broadband services to rural Americans.

The 2022 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey was conducted in August 2022, and 38.3% of NTCA’s members responded.

The average service area of respondents is approximately 2,080 square miles.

Highlights of the survey, according to a press release, included the following data points:

  • NTCA members continue to deploy fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks that enable increasingly higher speeds in rural communities. Nearly 82% of survey respondents’ customers on average can receive downstream speeds greater than/equal to 100 Mbps, compared to just over 75% in 2021, and nearly 61% of customers on average have access to Gigabit downstream speed, up from just over 55% in 2021. Additionally, more than three quarters (79.3%) of respondents’ customers on average are served by FTTH connections, up from 75% in 2021.
  • More customers are subscribing to higher speeds as they become available. Nearly 49% of survey respondents’ customers subscribe to 100 Mbps broadband or better, up from just over 37% in the 2021 survey, and for the first time, the 2022 survey found that subscriptions for 100 Mbps and higher speed services are now more popular than services between the 25 and 100 Mbps. The percentage of customers subscribing to service between 100 Mbps and 1 Gig is almost 37%, surpassing the 25–100 Mbps tier at just over 31%.
  • NTCA members continue to provide critically important broadband service to schools, libraries, and other anchor institutions in their communities. Survey respondents offer robust levels of fixed broadband service to community centers, public libraries, schools and institutions for higher education, emergency call centers, hospitals, and many more critical facilities in their communities.
  • There’s still more work to do, and the sustainability of networks remains important. The survey notes the last 20% of customers are historically the hardest and most expensive to reach, and respondents estimate that the average initial construction cost to bring all customers up to the 100 Mbps (downstream) level of service is $30 million. The sustainability of networks and services also remains important, as can be seen in the significant efforts to upgrade speeds on existing fiber networks.

NTCA chief executive officer Shirley Bloomfield commented:

“At a time when there’s so much focus on how to reach millions of rural Americans still awaiting quality broadband access, this survey highlights how NTCA members have led the charge to date in delivering on this promise for so many and the tremendous work they continue to do to close remaining gaps. I’m proud to share that our small, community-based providers have risen to meet this broadband moment again in 2022, delivering affordable, high-speed connectivity to some of the hardest to reach areas. Our members are poised and ready to keep up this momentum in 2023, and we think they provide a remarkable blueprint for how best to tackle outstanding challenges in rural broadband.”

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovative change in smart rural communities across America. Visit www.ntca.org for more information.

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About the Author

Cabling Installation & Maintenance Staff

Cabling Installation & Maintenance publishes news and technical information for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals.

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