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.
By slashing subscriber pricing by more than $30 billion annually, Low Earth Orbit satellite companies led by Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk as well as OneWeb have the potential to usher in a whole new era of broadband.
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.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 11:00 a.m. New York / 4:00 p.m London
Win MDUs: Playing With Loaded 9-Sided Dice (archive available soon)
The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
The MDU market itself is evolving as residents adopt smart-home technologies, generating rising demand for smart apartments with built-in connected thermostats, keyless entryways and doors, and video doorbells. This evolution presents both new challenges and opportunities. In other words, service providers must consider innovative service-delivery strategies to compete and win.
In this Broadband World News and ADTRAN webinar, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will highlight emerging MDU broadband Internet trends and challenges. In addition, Kurt will outline the next-generation service creation and delivery platform, built on open standards, that allows service providers to connect millions of underserved MDUs, enables creation of user-driven services, and reduces operational complexity and costs.
Plus, special guest, Alice Lawson, Broadband and Cable Program Manager for the City of Seattle, will discuss Seattle’s B4B-Build For Broadband initiative that addresses best practices in planning for MDU telecommunication infrastructure.