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Fiber broadband is now available to more than 30% of households across the US, and fiber networks should reach 50% of homes by 2025, a new study says.
But 50% coverage would obviously leave another 50% of homes without access to the fastest wireline broadband technology. Reaching 80% of homes instead of just 50% would require an additional cash infusion of $52 billion over the next 10 years, the study says. Going from 80% to 90% would then require another $18 billion. Going from 90% to 100% would be far more cost-prohibitive because it would require wiring up the least populated parts of the country, which make up "the vast majority of US land," the study said.
The study was commissioned by the Fiber Broadband Association, whose members include municipal broadband providers, private ISPs such as Verizon and Sonic, and various vendors that sell equipment to the broadband industry. The industry group hired consulting firm Cartesian to conduct the study and submitted it to the Federal Communications Commission last week (see full study).
At 30% of homes, US fiber access is far behind numerous other countries, the report said. Spain, Portugal, Japan, and others are above 90%, while countries such as Norway and South Korea are above 80%.
Currently, 39.2 million households out of 127.6 million in the US are passed by all-fiber networks, the study said. At the current pace, "by 2025, an estimated 25.9 million additional households will be passed for a total of 65.1 million—about 50% of US households," the study said. There were just 12.2 million households passed by fiber in 2008, but there have been steady improvements each year since.
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