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2023 Fourth Quarter Results

January 2, 2024

Dear FBA Members,

We ended 2023 with the best year in the Fiber Broadband Association’s history. Fiber broadband deployment set a new record during the year, passing 9 million homes, growing 13% year-over-year, and beating the previous year’s record of 8.3 million homes passed. Fiber broadband now passes 77.9 million homes, and we now have 51.5% of our nation’s unique homes and businesses passed with fiber. We are also extremely excited that the $42.45 billion NTIA BEAD broadband infrastructure funding has started to flow, with NTIA approving Louisana’s initial proposal on December 15, 2023.  This approval authorizes the first 20% of Louisana’s $1.3 billion BEAD funding award. All states and territories were required to submit their initial proposals to NTIA by December 27, 2023, so we should expect to see a steady stream of NTIA approvals and BEAD funding authorizations across the nation in the first half of 2024.

While fiber is being deployed at a record pace, the supply side of the fiber industry struggled in 2023 due to an excess of inventory built up from pandemic-related supply-chain challenges. FBA’s service provider survey found that service provider fiber and fiber-related equipment inventory peaked during the year with nine months of stock on hand on average. This inventory has been drawn down in the second half of 2023, with passive products having the lowest level of stock on hand, followed by electronics and fiber cable, which still have a way to go. FBA estimates that fiber-related inventory will normalize during the first half of 2024. We have validated our estimates with some of the industry’s top analysts.

During 2023, the Fiber Broadband Association team delivered record revenue and membership growth. As of the end of 2023, our projected revenue grew 44% year-over-year and has grown 481% over the past three years. Further, FBA’s revenue diversity, beyond membership dues and the annual conference revenue, has grown from 4% in 2019 (pre-COVID) to 30% in 2023. FBA’s membership has also grown 108% over the past three years, and we added over 46 net new member companies since our Premier Members meeting in December 2022. We are excited to report that in 2023, we also added 27 Federally Recognized Tribal Organizations as members thanks to the FBA’s Tribal working group co-chairs, Robert Griffin and Sachin Gupta, and FBA’s membership team. FBA’s Latin America (LATAM) chapter has grown 12% year-over-year and is beginning to build back its reserves. While the Association’s financial metrics are important to ensure the overall health and stability of the organization, we continue to be pleased with FBA’s progress in advancing FBA’s mission to accelerate the deployment of fiber broadband networks as a means to ensure digital equity and enable every community to leverage the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver.

As NTIA approves the state’s initial BEAD funding proposals, it is crucial that FBA ramps up our workforce development efforts in every state and territory in the nation. To that end, I am pleased to report that Job Corps has selected FBA’s OpTIC PathTM fiber optic technician training program. With more than 120 campuses across the United States, Job Corps is expected to become the second-largest producer of OpTIC PathTM graduates, helping to develop the technical workforce needed to connect every community to fiber broadband networks. Further, the state of Vermont has also recently signed a training contract with FBA. Congratulations to FBA’s Debbie Kish, Todd Jackson, and FBA board member Mark Boxer for their continued efforts to ramp up fiber optic technician training across the nation. FBA is currently engaged with 40 states, 44 service providers, and 70 community colleges and training institutions to roll out the OpTIC Path program.

FBA’s advocacy efforts continues to gain traction under the leadership of Marissa Mitrovich, Vice President of Public Policy, along with FBA’s Chief Regulatory and Legal Counsel, Tom Cohen, and FBA’s Washington DC lobbyist, Crystal Tully, with Wiley Rein. FBA’s public policy committee has grown to 113 members, up 119% year-over-year. During the fourth quarter, FBA held numerous events and meetings on Capitol Hill, including a DC fly-in meeting with 12 Congressional offices, a Gimme Fiber Day activation on the Hill, and ongoing engagement with Congress. FBA is also very active and has filed comments on the FCC’s Section 706 Notice of Inquiry on broadband speed thresholds, the FCC Title II proceeding, and has been actively engaged in advocacy initiatives before Congress and the Administration to promote the continued funding of the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and on permitting reform. FBA’s continued presence in Washington continues to gain traction, and Marissa was recently named one of “The Hill’s Top Lobbyists in 2023.”  Marissa and the policy team are currently in the process of planning our next Fiber Day on the Hill, which is scheduled for April 11, 2024.

The Fiber Broadband Association continues to put a hard focus on research and has produced a number of new studies and reports. At FBA’s Premier Members meeting in Palm Springs, California, on December 5, our research partners Mike Render, RVA Research, and Michael Drague, Cartesian, provided a review of the following annual fiber studies, along with Patrick Jacobi, SVP Prysmian and Chair of FBA’s Trusted Fiber working group’s white paper:

  • “The State Of The North American Fiber Industry” (FBA/RVA) reveals that fiber has been deployed to 77.9 million homes as of December 2023, growing 13% year-over-year.
  • “Fiber Deployment Annual Cost Study” (FBA/Cartesian) finds that costs for aerial deployments range from $4 to $9 per foot and buried costs are ranging from $11.30 to $24.13 per foot. This report includes detailed fiber deployment cost elements.
  • “Trusted Fiber” (FBA Trusted Fiber Working Group) which outlines key policy recommendations to ensure fiber deployed in the U.S. comes from trusted and ethical sources.

A major highlight of 2023 was FBA’s annual Fiber Connect conference held in Orlando, Florida, beating 2022’s record attendance by 33%. Fiber Connect 2024 will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, from July 28 to July 31, and we anticipate another record turnout. The exhibit hall sold out, nearly a year in advance. The conference planning team has been working hard on next year’s agenda, and we are extremely excited about what we have planned for 2024.

The Association’s highly popular Regional Fiber Connect workshops will continue in 2024 in five new cities, including Richmond, VA, in February; Little Rock, AR, in April; Deer Valley, UT, in June; Des Moines, IA, in September; and Albuquerque, NM, in November. Unlike our large Fiber Connect annual conference, Regional Fiber Connect attendees are generally not familiar with FBA, and it is their first FBA event. This provides a great opportunity for FBA and our sponsors to engage with these attendees who are seeking to learn about fiber broadband and how to connect their communities.

Our LATAM Chapter will be holding three Fiber Connect LATAM conferences in 2024, starting with Puerto Rico in April, Peru in  June, and Panama in October, and will be followed by two days of training and certification programs after each event. FBA LATAM will also be holding training programs in Colombia in March and Brazil in June. The FBA LATAM Fiber Certified Training Program trained 628 professionals & technicians in Latin America in 2023.

To ensure our continued success, the Fiber Broadband Association is focused on the following key initiatives:

  1. Fiber is critical infrastructure
    • This is not about meeting minimum or good enough speeds.
    • It is all about building out the critical broadband infrastructure for generations to come.
  1. Accelerating deployment
    • Speed of deployment is our friend. Anything that slows down our efforts will result in driving up cost and inefficiencies.
    • Streamlining permitting and locates is paramount.
    • Taking actions to prevent supply chain disruption.
  1. Protect our nation’s critical broadband infrastructure
    • This summer, FBA completed its Trusted Fiber 1.0 whitepaper, and we are working with policymakers to socialize these important ideas that will play a key role in protecting our nation’s critical broadband infrastructure networks.
  1. Workforce Development
    • FBA developed a Broadband Workforce Development Guidebook that was distributed to every state broadband office and workforce development office across the nation, and to date, we have hosted over a dozen “Train the Trainer” sessions to help communities launch their own programs.
    • FBA is continuing to roll out our Optical Telecom Installer Certification (OpTIC Path™) fiber technician training program to community colleges and learning institutions in every state in the nation.
  1. Adoption and Affordability
    • As we connect homes across the nation with fiber, we must ensure everyone is able to participate in our digital future.


As we close 2023, the following is our progress against our 4Q 2023 goals:

  • Develop FBA’s five-year plan during our 4Q board strategy
    • Five-year plan was delivered and presented to the board on December 6.
  • Exceed our success targets for our final 2023 Regional Fiber Connect event in Minneapolis on October 24.
    • Minneapolis was our second-strongest regional event for the year, successfully exceeding all of our success metrics for the event.
  • Execute the best Premier Members meeting in Association history in Palm Springs on December 5-6.
    • The 2023 Premier Members meeting was our best to date with our largest premier member turnout, the strongest field of candidates that participated in the board elections, the strongest agenda of top industry speakers, and a world-class venue.
  • Achieve material progress in ramping up our OpTIC Path training program nationwide.
    • Secured contracts with Job Corps and the State of Vermont.
  • Deliver a new annual Fiber Deployment Cost study.
    • Michael Drague, VP of Cartesian, presented a preview of the study’s findings on December 5 at the Premier Members meeting. The final report is available and will be released in early January.
  • Continue to significantly elevate FBA’s public policy impact on Capitol Hill, the Administration, and key agencies.
    • FBA member DC fly-in was held on November 14th.
    • FBA filed comments on a number of FCC proceedings during the quarter.
  • Improve staff efficiency in the execution of our educational outreach, which includes over 100 webinars and Fiber for Breakfast sessions annually.
    • FBA held 104 educational webinars, 52 Fiber for Breakfast episodes, and 12 Where’s the Funding episodes in 2023.


Our Goals for 2024 include the following:

  1. Sold out (expo) Fiber Connect 2024 with 4,000+ attendees
  2. Five Regional Fiber Connect workshops
  3. Develop Canadian presence
  4. Material progress on OpTIC Path nationwide adoption
  5. “Go To” resource for public policy
    • Fiber Day on the Hill (April 2024), Executive Fly-in, continued activity and engagement on key policy proceedings
  6. Membership – grow Tribal members, unite the industry, invest in our volunteer leadership
  7. LATAM – positive net income contribution (to build on their reserves), three successful events (Puerto Rica, Panama, and Peru), invest in leadership and staff
  8. Diversify Revenue – grow non-conference, non-dues revenue, training/workforce development

As we head into 2024, FBA remains in an exceptionally strong position to execute our mission, benefiting generations to come. NTIA BEAD broadband infrastructure funding is just starting to flow, and we expect fiber deployment from this funding to begin in the second half of 2024. In the interim, broadband funding continues with a number of state and federal programs, such as the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), USDA’s Reconnect broadband funding, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s $10B Corona Virus Capital Projects Fund (CPF), to mention a few. We also believe that service provider inventory will continue to draw down in the first half of 2024, returning the supply side of our industry to normalized and healthy revenue run rates.

While FBA has won many battles in our relentless effort to ensure that every American has fiber broadband, we can never let our guard down. Last month, the FCC upheld its decision to deny Starlink its $885 million RDOF award on a 3 to 2 vote margin along party lines. One vote going in the wrong direction could result in digital redlining, preventing large regional areas of the Midwest and Pacific Northwest from being eligible for fiber funding. The threat to our mission is constant, so FBA must remain vigilant in our advocacy and educational efforts. Many of us have been working our entire careers for this historic opportunity to build out our nation’s critical broadband infrastructure, elevating the quality of life for generations to come.

The FBA staff is truly grateful for the tremendous support we continue to receive from our board and our strategic partners, as well as our committee and working group leaders and volunteers. Without their unwavering dedication, our continued success would not have been possible.

The team at the Fiber Broadband Association could not be more excited about the opportunities and our plans for 2024. We hope to see our members and new friends virtually at Fiber for Breakfast webinars on Wednesdays at 10 AM EST, and/or in person for our Regional Fiber Connect conference in Richmond on February 8, on Capitol Hill on April 11, at Fiber Connect 2024 in Nashville July 28 to 31, or at one of our other events throughout the year. You can also always reach me 24/7 on my cell phone (listed below) or by email. If I or anyone on my staff can help you and your company accelerate the deployment of fiber, please do not hesitate to reach out. When Fiber Leads, The Future Follows…





Gary Bolton
President and CEO
Fiber Broadband Association
(919) 349-1025