Survey Shows Rural Fiber Deployment, Higher Speed Broadband on the Rise

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086, hcrowder@ntca.org 

Arlington, Va. (June 17, 2015)—The nation’s small, independent telecommunications providers continue to make significant progress in providing high-speed broadband to rural Americans with advancements being made in fiber deployment and speed offerings, according to a new survey by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. 

The “NTCA 2014 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report” found that 45% of survey respondents currently deploying fiber serve at least 50% of their customers using fiber to the home (FTTH), up from 41% in 2013. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents indicated they had a long-term fiber deployment strategy and 74% of those respondents plan to offer fiber to the node to more than 75% of their customers by year-end 2017, while 67% plan to offer fiber to the home to at least 50% of their customers over the same time frame. An additional 25% have already completed fiber deployments to all customers. 

Additionally, survey respondents are making higher-speed broadband service available to customers who want it. Eighty-three percent of respondents’ customers can receive broadband service of 10 Mbps or greater, up from 66% just a year ago. While take rates traditionally lag behind availability, the majority of respondents’ customers subscribe to service of 3 Mbps or faster. 

Thirty-four percent of survey respondents’ customers taking broadband subscribe to service greater than 10 Mbps downstream.  The next most popular speed tiers are 6.0 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps (9.5%), and 3.0 Mbps to 4.0 Mbps (8.9%). 

“NTCA member companies are proven broadband solutions providers for the communities where they live and work and these survey results demonstrate that once again as they continue to take steps to deploy fiber further out into their networks,” said NTCA Economist Rick Schadelbauer, the report’s author. “They do this in spite of the often significant challenges they face in order to better serve their customers.” 

Twenty percent of NTCA members participated in the online survey in the winter of 2014. The survey comprised general questions about the respondents’ current operations, competition, marketing efforts, and current and planned fiber deployment. Additional questions addressed the Internet backbone, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and video offerings. 

The full report is available online.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.