Be Fiber Proud

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Why It’s Important to Certify Fiber and All-Fiber Networks — 

Today, it’s not if we get online, it’s how. After several decades of access to broadband, consumers have become discerning, looking for speed, reliability and a high quality of service. It matters to them if movies buffer, if a phone call over Wi-Fi at home is distorted or delayed, if their children can do multimedia coursework online, or if they can actually use all the devices they want on a network connection they’ve paid for.

We see this trend play out in various measures of consumer understanding. According to research by RVA LLC, (http://www.rvallc.com/), average overall satisfaction with fiber broadband is 50.7% higher than with DSL and cable services. And this past summer, again according to research by RVA and sponsored by the Fiber Broadband Association, fiber has now surpassed other access technologies to be the most popular way consumers get broadband, second only to cable.

As more businesses and consumers become aware of the advantages of fiber broadband, fiber is a true differentiator. And we believe it is important to recognize those network providers who are delivering best-in-class broadband service to their customers via fiber. So current and future consumers know they’re getting future-proof broadband. That’s why we are relaunching our network certification program for telecommunications and broadband network operators and providers connecting their customers with fiber and all-fiber networks.

The program certifies 2 different types of network operators: Certified Fiber, and Certified All-Fiber. Both must be members of the Fiber Broadband Association, exhibiting high-level strategic commitment to fiber deployment with confirmed fiber networks, delivered either through PON or Active Ethernet, at 70% or higher penetration in a service area. To be considered Certified All-Fiber, penetration in a service area must be at 90% or higher.

This certification program is designed to help our all-fiber network operator members highlight the critical work they are doing to bring fiber connectivity to those they serve. It’s a way to give credit to those who are truly bringing the best to their communities.

The benefits of fiber networks are as massive as they are varied. Here are just some of the perks that Certified Fiber Providers and Certified All-Fiber Providers bring to their communities and markets:

Faster Internet: Data demand has never been higher. Cisco (https://www.cisco.com/) predicts that in North America, there will be 12.9 networked devices per capita by 2021, up from 7.7 per capita in 2016. Consumer Internet traffic is also expected to reach 71.3 Exabytes per month in 2021, the equivalent of 18 billion DVDs per month, or 24 million DVDs per hour.

Fiber broadband networks can easily keep up with this outsize demand, satiating consumers’ appetites for streaming, videos, online gaming, and smart devices, at speeds that older broadband technologies can’t provide. Fiber is the fastest option around, with upload speeds 2.8 times better than competing technologies and up to 61.3% less time waiting for online content to load.

Better Housing Values: High-speed Internet is a factor for 88% of people deciding where to buy a home, and for 91% of people deciding which community to live in. People are willing to pay, on average, 8% more to rent, and 2.8% more to buy, an apartment equipped with fiber. Access to fiber also adds 3.1% to the value of a house — the equivalent value, to put it another way, of adding a full fireplace or a quarter of a swimming pool.

Economy Boost: Fiber cities show a 62% higher gross metropolitan product and 46% more new businesses than cities without fiber. It’s also a major incentive for attracting major companies to site new locations, as seen with Amazon’s official Amazon Hq2 Request for Proposal (RFP), bringing jobs and opportunity with them. “Ensuring optimal fiber connectivity is paramount at our Hq2 location,” the RFP states, before asking the RFP respondents to “Please demonstrate the fiber connectivity on all submitted sites.”

5G Preparedness: We know that 5G will require a substantial amount of fiber to connect its numerous small cells. New research from RVA LLC (http://www.rvallc.com/) echoes that finding, showing that cities with fiber have, on average, 37% more deployed small cells and just over 35% more smart city applications.

We already know that fiber is on the rise in North America. Last year, annual fiber deployment in the US
hit a new record, passing 35 million homes. That’s an impressive 4.4 million home increase — the most-ever in a single year — and a 15% growth over 2016. 15.4 million households in the US now take all-fiber.

Providers, especially the smaller players are also expanding their fiber broadband networks: last year, smaller providers grew their fiber broadband networks at a rate of 16.5%, and the largest providers grew theirs by 14.1%. Providers can see that consumers want fiber, and they are adjusting their plans accordingly.

In a 2016 survey of 172 rural broadband providers, NTCA 2016 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report, NTCA found that 82% of the providers had developed long-term fiber deployment strategies, up from 74% in 2015. 66% of respondents planned to be able to provide fiber networks to more than half of their customers by the end of 2019.

Ultimately, this fiber certification program is designed to honor and inspire the commitment to fiber broadband technology necessary to both prepare for and accelerate the connected future.

For more information, please visit: Amazon’s official Amazon Hq2 Request for Proposal (RFP): https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/01/Anything/test/images/usa/RFP_3._V516043504_.pdf

NTCA 2016 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report, published July 2017, NTCA The Rural Broadband Association. https://www.ntca.org/sites/default/files/documents/2018-01/2016ntcabroadbandsurveyreport.pdf

 

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About Author

Lisa Youngers is Executive Director of the Fiber Broadband Association. She has more than two decades of communications industry experience. For more information, please visit https://www.fiberbroadband.org. Follow the FBA on Twitter: @fiberbroadband. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaYoungers.

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