Fiber to the home, or FTTH, is the delivery of optic fiber directly from a central location a home, apartment, or office building. This new technology offers unprecedented internet speeds, up to 100 megabits per second. This can be over 20 times faster than typical cable modem or DSL connections.
Industry leaders and technicians working with the delivery of fiber directly to the home met in Valencia in February, 2018 for the annual FTTH Europe Conference.
At the conference, data showed that the number of direct fiber users in Europe has increased by over 20% since September of 2017. Ireland also made its first appearance in the data with about 1 percent of all homes served by direct fiber connections. Overall, many European countries reported that over 40% of households were served by direct fiber connections
European Network Deployment
The 2018 conference also looked at who is deploying these technologies. The data showed that about 56% of the providers were private businesses. The rest of the providers are public entities, such as utility companies. Reports noted that fiber technologies increased over the year from 2017 to 2018. For the first time, direct fiber technologies were overtaking other architectures.
United States Usage
As of September 2018, about 30% of homes in the United States had a direct fiber connection. Between September 2016 and September 2017, approximately 4.4 million homes in the United States were added to direct fiber connections. That brought the total number of homes to about 34.5 million. Homes in Northeast and on the West coast were heavily saturated with access to direct fiber, but every state has some coverage.
United States Network Deployment
Most of the direct fiber connections in the United States come from tier 1 service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink. Smaller service providers, like cable companies, continued to grow in the market. Their rate of growth edged out the growth rate of larger providers by a little over 2%. A small number of municipalities and planned communities are building their own direct fiber networks, but by and large most homes get their connections from a tier 1 provider or a cable company.
Google Fiber kickstarted growth of direct fiber technologies in the United States. As they announced plans to cover more communities, more traditional providers increased their offerings and lowered prices in order to stay competitive. Google Fiber scaled back their operations in 2016, but their legacy continues.
Currently, major providers, municipalities, and lawmakers are all aware of the necessity for FTTH and for widespread deployment, even in less populated areas.