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Small US telcos boost broadband speeds

Small, independent telecommunications providers in the US continue to make significant progress in providing high-speed broadband to rural Americans with advancements being made in fibre deployment and speed offerings, according to a survey by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.

The NTCA 2014 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report found that 45 per cent of survey respondents currently deploying fibre serve at least 50 per cent of their customers using fibre to the home (FTTH), up from 41 per cent in 2013. Eighty-five per cent of survey respondents indicated they had a long-term fibre deployment strategy and 74 per cent of those respondents plan to offer fibre to the node to more than 75 per cent of their customers by year-end 2017, while 67 per cent plan to offer fibre to the home to at least 50 per cent of their customers over the same time frame. An additional 25 per cent have already completed fibre deployments to all customers.

Additionally, survey respondents are making higher-speed broadband service available to customers who want it. Eighty-three per cent of respondents’ customers can receive broadband service of 10 Mbps or greater, up from 66 per cent just a year ago. While take rates traditionally lag behind availability, the majority of respondents’ customers subscribe to service of 3 Mbps or faster.

Thirty-four per cent of survey respondents’ customers taking broadband subscribe to service greater than 10 Mbps downstream. The next most popular speed tiers are 6.0 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps (9.5 per cent), and 3.0 Mbps to 4.0 Mbps (8.9 per cent).

“NTCA member companies are proven broadband solutions providers for the communities where they live and work and these survey results demonstrate that once again as they continue to take steps to deploy fibre further out into their networks,” said NTCA Economist Rick Schadelbauer, the report’s author. “They do this in spite of the often significant challenges they face in order to better serve their customers.”

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