Fiber Passes Over 50% of U.S. Households
This year, fiber broadband hit all new records, with 9 million newly passed U.S. homes added by network operators in 2023, with 6 million of those newly passed homes that previously did not have fiber, according to the latest annual research conducted by RVA Market Research & Consulting for the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA).
“Cumulatively we’re now at about 78 million homes passed, including second and third passings,” said Michael Render, CEO and Principal Analyst, RVA LLC Market Research and Consulting. “We’re about 69 million unique homes passed. We’re now passing 51.5% of U.S. households, unique primary homes.”
RVA analyzed multiple sources of data to arrive at its 2023 numbers, including public company data, the FBA/RVA 2023 surveys of mid-size and smaller providers, data from the FBA/RVA 2023 Consumer Study, review of the 2023 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mapping data, data from other industry association surveys, and interviews and data from vendors and engineers.
There are now 30.9 U.S. million homes connected by fiber, with take rate on the increase. “We’ve dipped a bit in the past, but we’re on the rise again to about 45.4% in average passings,” said Render. “Some companies are showing in their public information that their first year take rate is really improving.” AT&T reported new builds are achieving double the take-rate when compared to historic data, while both Consolidated and Windstream have inferred take rates of over three times for 2023 builds.
While there is record fiber deployment, the supply side of the fiber industry has been struggling with a deep drop in their stocks, which are at 40% of their value compared to one year ago. During 2022, many providers overbought materials in reaction to COVID supply chain issues and are now in the process of working down their inventories to match current production and shipping rates.
“[Oversupply] is definitely getting down there,” said Render. “It could be turning around now or in the first part of the [next] year. It really depends on the type of vendor, there are differences in the supply for fiber cable verses outside plant enclosures and so forth. I think many [firms] will be seeing that soon. Some providers are realizing now is an opportunity to build when they have workforce available before all the additional [BEAD] money hits, so I expect deployments to turn up even further.”
Dig deeper into RVA’s numbers and forecasts for the fiber broadband community by listening to the latest version of Fiber for Breakfast.