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2023 Third Quarter Results

October 2, 2023

Dear FBA Members,

In the third quarter of 2023, the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) team delivered its 11th consecutive quarter of revenue and membership growth. As of the end of August, our year-to-date revenue had a 40% favorable variance to budget and grew 49% year-over-year, while we carefully managed expenses to within 5% of budget. FBA’s membership has grown 108% over the past three years and we have added over 50 net new member companies since our Premier Members’ meeting last December, with service providers representing 51% of total member companies. We are excited to report that we have added 25 Federally Recognized Tribal Organizations as members in 2023. FBA’s Latin America (LATAM) chapter has grown 18% year-over-year and is on track to be cashflow positive for the year. While the Association’s financial metrics are important to ensure the overall health and stability of the organization, I am most 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.

During the quarter, our Public Policy committee, under the leadership of Marissa Mitrovich, launched a series of new modules for FBA’s Broadband Infrastructure Playbook to assist state broadband offices as they further develop their policies for the $42.45B Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) infrastructure funding administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FBA published (or plans to publish) six “Playbook 3.0” modules on the following topics: Permitting, Extremely High-Cost Threshold, Challenge Process, Cybersecurity/Supply Chain, Matching/Scoring, and Reporting. These Playbook 3.0 modules are fundamental to key elements of each state’s BEAD funding implementation plan, and we want to ensure that each state broadband office gets these critical policy elements right. In addition, FBA has been working closely with NTIA and our members on the Build America, Buy America (BABA) waiver policies and we filed formal comments with NTIA on September 21, to share our views on how to improve the waiver to enable greater industry participation and ensure BEAD deadlines and timelines can be met. The Public Policy team is also actively engaging with Congress on policy priorities and supporting key legislation, such as the recently introduced, bipartisan CLOSE THE GAP Act that would streamline permitting reform. Our team is also advocating for the importance of continuing to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) for broadband subsidies for low-income subscribers, among other key efforts to accelerate fiber deployment.

The Fiber Broadband Association’s research efforts have produced a number of new studies, reports, and tools over the quarter, including the following:

  • “The Status of U.S. Broadband: The Growing Preference to Fiber Broadband” (FBA/RVA) that reveals fiber broadband is considered the best internet service delivery method in terms of speed and reliability among 63% of all U.S. consumers, including 54% of cable users.
  • “BEAD High Cost Threshold Model” (FBA/Cartesian) that provides the model each state broadband office can use to maximize fiber deployment in their state while ensuring everyone is connected to high-speed broadband.
  • “Status of FTTH Product Inventory Levels In The U.S.” (FBA/RVA) reveals that we are getting close to normal levels for some product categories such as terminals/enclosures, splitters, and getting fairly close for conduit. Fiber cable and electronics may still have a few months to go before inventories are normalized.

FBA held its annual Fiber Connect 2023 conference, August 20-23 in Orlando, breaking all records from our previous years’ events. Our attendance grew 31% over the previous year and the event had over 225 speakers, five pre-conference workshops, seven educational session breakout tracks, and Tech Deep Dives with the Broadband Forum. We were extremely pleased with attendance and content at The State Broadband Summit, held on the final day, and the outcome of our inaugural C-Suite Forum, held on August 21. The highlights of the main stage general sessions were the five Operator Light Talks, which included talks from the president of AT&T, CEO of Google Fiber, EBP’s Quantum Networking discussion, Lumos’ discussion on digital equity, and Consolidated Communications president of consumer and SMB’s discussion on rural communities. While Fiber Connect 2023 concluded a few short weeks ago, FBA’s conference committee is already working diligently on Fiber Connect 2024 which will be held in Nashville on July 28-31. Our exhibit floor is already nearly sold out for 2024 and it will be our largest expo hall yet.

On the Regional Fiber Connect workshop front, we will be holding our final event for 2023 in Minneapolis on October 24. Registration for Minneapolis is on track to surpass all our previous regional events. For 2024, we will bring our regional workshops to five new cities, including: Richmond, VA, in February; Little Rock, AR, in April; Park City, 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 the second of two Fiber Connect LATAM conferences in Mexico City on October 10th and 11th. The two-day event expects over 500 registrants and will be followed by two days of training and certification programs.

I am pleased to announce that we added three new members to the FBA staff during this quarter. Please join me in welcoming Todd Jackson, Skyeler McGuire, and David Norris. Todd came to us from Lit Communities and joined the team at the end of June to serve as the Workforce Development Director. In this role, he will be working closely with Deborah Kish and Mark Boxer. Skyeler joins us from Northrup Gruman and joined the team in September as Marketing Specialist to work with Nadir Noon on marketing and the website. David Norris, our most recent addition, will report to Jennifer Vassil and serve as our Webinar Producer and Virtual Event Operations Manager. David comes to us from ON24 and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise on virtual event execution and management.

To ensure our continued success, the Fiber Broadband Association has been 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 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.
  5. 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 the third quarter, the following is our progress against our 3Q 2023 goals:

  • Execute a record Fiber Connect 2023 in Orlando on August 20 – 23.
    • FBA’s annual conference was the largest fiber broadband event in the world this year with around 4,000 registrants. The content, speakers, and exhibition hall were the best in Association history.
  • Promote our Fiber Workforce Development Guidebook in every state in the nation and influence each state’s workforce development plan to include fiber optic technician training.
    • FBA issued our Fiber Workforce Development Guidebook in 2Q and we distributed it to every state broadband and workforce development office in the nation. NTIA identified our Guidebook as an industry best practice and it has become a critical resource as each state submits their five-year plan and initial BEAD proposals to NTIA.
  • Continue to ramp and scale our OpTIC Path fiber technician training program nationwide.
    • FBA is currently engaged with 39 states and 108 training institutions across the nation. The job placement rate for students completing our OpTIC Path training program is currently at 73%.
  • Continue to significantly elevate FBA’s public policy impact on Capitol Hill, the Administration, and key agencies.
    • FBA’s public policy committee has grown to 107 members, doubling in size over 2023, and has been extremely active: filing comments on September 21 for NTIA’s BABA waiver, the bipartisan introduction of the CLOSE THE GAP Act to streamline permitting, advocating for continued funding for the ACP administered by the Federal Communications Commission, and numerous other policy matters to accelerate fiber broadband deployment, affordability, and adoption.
    • FBA also added Wiley Rein’s Crystal Tully, formerly Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Commerce Committee under the leadership of then Ranking Member Senator Wicker (R-MS) and Shawn Chang, telecom veteran and former Chief Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology under the leadership of then Ranking Member Eshoo (D-CA), as advocacy partners.
  • Continue to develop our state advocacy and leverage our Fiber Day messaging and assets at the state level.
    • FBA added a State Policy working group, chaired by Trent Fellers (Windstream) to coordinate on state advocacy issues.
  • Continue to diversify the Association’s revenue.
    • Three years ago, FBA’s revenue was largely 70% conference and 30% membership dues. Despite record conference and membership revenue growth, our current revenue contributions are 59% from the annual conference, 20% from membership dues, and new revenue streams are contributing 21%.

Our goals for 4Q are the following:

  • Develop FBA’s 5-year plan during our 4Q board strategy retreat.
  • Exceed our success targets for our final 2023 Regional Fiber Connect event in Minneapolis on October 24.
  • Execute the best Premier Member meeting in Association history in Palm Springs on December 5-6.
  • Achieve material progress in ramping up our OpTIC Path training program nationwide.
  • Deliver a new annual Fiber Deployment Cost study.
  • Continue to significantly elevate FBA’s public policy impact on Capitol Hill, the Administration, and key agencies.
  • Improve staff efficiency in the execution of our educational outreach, which includes over 100 webinars and Fiber for Breakfast sessions annually.

As we head into the final quarter of 2023, FBA could not be better positioned to execute on our mission, benefiting generations to come. Our Association will continue to focus on advocacy, education, and industry best practices to ensure we maximize this historic opportunity. As our nation invests in building the broadband infrastructure for our future, we are truly grateful for the tremendous support we have received from our board, our amazing staff, 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.

I look forward to seeing our members and new friends in Mexico City, October 10th and 11th, at our regional event in Minneapolis on October 24th, at our Premier Members meeting in Palm Springs, December 4th and 5th, or at the numerous other industry events that FBA attends. You can also 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. When Fiber Leads, The Future Follows…




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