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FTTH expanding in North America

By Donna Donnawitz
April 13, 2012
The past year witnessed a major influx of new fiber to the home networks in North America, as the number of homes connected directly to a fiber-optic cable line rose by approximately 13 percent during the past 12 months, according to a recent study sponsored by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas.

The research, which was performed by RVA LLC, found that telecommunications providers of all sizes are getting in on the North American FTTH boom as 900,000 households in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean have been given access to fiber-optic networks since April 2011.

In North America, the total number of all-fiber connections has climbed to more than 8 million, while more than 19.3 million homes currently have access to FTTH.

The United States is dominant in this space, as the study found approximately 95 percent of all FTTH connections on the continent were in the country. This level of FTTH penetration has been achieved largely because the wave of new FTTH installations began in 2004, with prominent projects from major telecommunications organizations. Roughly 3 percent of FTTH networks are currently in Canada, with the rest in Mexico and the Caribbean.

While the United States is the dominant home of FTTH in North America, it is much more difficult to identify a single leading provider. While the study found Verizon has led the FTTH charge, the market has diversified substantially in recent years, with many small and medium-sized telephone and internet providers also getting involved in the movement. Currently, the number of telecoms providing FTTH services is nearing 1,000 as more projects are completed in rural regions and small towns.

Heather Burnett Gold, President of the FTTH Council Americas, explained that the FTTH explosion can be attributed largely to the fact that better connectivity options can spur economic growth.

"The notion that the upgrade to FTTH can be a catalyst for economic development is precisely what is driving this enormous interest in high-speed fiber we are seeing at the community level across North America. Civic leaders in communities of all sizes have a sense that more bandwidth means more opportunities for economic progress," said Burnett Gold.

FTTH is by no means a North American phenomena. Optical network installation is becoming far more common around the globe, with many municipalities mandating that the network infrastructure is installed in any new housing construction or even along with any new roads. These laws, and general demand, are contributing to rapid FTTH development in many regions.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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