Despite the upfront costs associated with fiber, it's the lowest-priced fixed-broadband technology option for subscribers, according to a newly released, searchable data set from BroadbandNow -- and that's bad news for rural regions, which typically have the least access to fiber or more than one choice of provider.
Low-priced plans and the price per Mbit/s for wired broadband Internet via DOCSIS, DSL or fiber
Median household income and low-cost broadband availability
State comparison of income and broadband coverage.
"A core mission of Broadband Now is accurate data. We believe by sharing that data we can foster more discussion, and hopefully foster more competition," said John Busby, managing director of BroadbandNow, in an interview with Broadband World News today. "There's a clear correlation between the number of providers that serve an area and competition."
Ironically, despite fiber's relatively high cost of deployment -- with about 50% of expenses due to labor -- it is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections, according to Broadband Now research. Fiber has the lowest average price per Megabits per second (Mbit/s) ($0.48), followed by cable ($0.65) and DSL ($1.53).
Plotting Out Broadband's Path
Visit the original for an interactive version, based on zip code (Source: BroadbandNow)
Whether they're digging trenches for fiber or deploying VDSL and Gfast modems, it doesn't make a difference for some regions: There simply is no competition and customers -- residential and small to midsize businesses -- must deal with one operator. That's the case across the entire state of Alaska -- the only state with zero access to a low-priced plan for any technology, according to Broadband Now.
In fact, about 45% of the US population (around 146 million or the population of Russia) has no access to a low-priced residential fixed-access broadband offering, the data showed.
Those with the least pay the most, on average. In states with median incomes of at least $60,000, 78% of the population has access to a low-priced Internet access plan on average, according to this report. By contrast, in poorer states where the median incomes were less than $60,000, only 37% could buy a low-priced Internet plan.
People who live in those zip codes representing the 10% lowest populated areas pay up to 37% more on average for residential wired broadband than those residing in the 10% highest populated areas, wrote Broadband Now.
With the billions of taxpayer funds infused -- and rightfully so -- into rural communities to plug them into the Internet age, let's see when a reckoning of that data gets added to Broadband Now's mix. Insight into the multiple rural spending grants and low-cost loans coupled with a legitimate picture of what broadband tech truly is installed where is what the country needs, not only as an accounting that any responsible agency provides to stakeholders. But also due to the vital role fiber plays in 5G and the expectation of 5G's importance to the future economy of the United States.
If the country doesn't know where all its fiber is deployed or inaccurately believes it's buried hither and yon (and it's not), then how can we compete in 5G? My fear: We can't -- unless we get a move on and use tools like this, starting now.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.