Over 8m North American homes enjoying FTTH broadband

Around 900,000 households across the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean signed up for Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband services in the 12 months to March 2012, according to new figures from the FTTH Council Americas.

The report, conducted on the council’s behalf by RVA LLC, estimates that the total number of households in North America receiving FTTH services passed eight million in the period, with FTTH now being offered to 19.3 million homes.

About 95 per cent of FTTH households are in the US, thanks to the early deployment of fibre by companies such as Verizon, but activity in the other North American markets is now beginning to rise as well, according to the report: Canadian households represent three per cent of the total, and the remaining two per cent are in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Verizon remains the largest FTTH provider in the region by far, but the number of FTTH network operators in North America is nearing 1,000, as an increasing number of lower tier operators (mostly located in rural and small town areas) swap out their copper plant with fibre. The vast majority of FTTH network operators serve less than 10,000 subscribers, according to the report.

“The notion that the upgrade to FTTH can be a catalyst for economic development is precisely what is driving this enormous interest in high-speed fibre we are seeing at the community level across North America,” said Heather Burnett Gold, President of the FTTH Council Americas. “Civic leaders in communities of all sizes have a sense that more bandwidth means more opportunities for economic progress.”

“These latest numbers underscore that phenomenon in two ways – they show that smaller telecoms are continuing to upgrade to FTTH and that many are indeed seeing a positive economic impact in their communities after they deploy,” she added.

The RVA survey also found that, on average, government supported FTTH stimulus projects are now 38 percent complete, with indications that many will start connecting subscribers this year. Environmental reviews and heavy demand for fibre optic cable were cited as reasons for the delays.

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