Lisa R. Youngers, President and CEO, Fiber Broadband Association
Unless you are a fiber wonk like me, fiber deployment likely does not top your list of cocktail party conversation topics. But maybe it should.
Think about how much time you spend scrolling through your phone, streaming music and video from your devices or reading on your iPad. It is likely a huge percentage of your day. A recent study by RVA, found that people in North America spend an average of 5.3 hours online in their homes everyday -- and that doesn't include time at the office or on the go.
The average home today has more than ten connected devices, which require networks that can support enormous, responsive and reliable data flows to make sure everything and everyone remains connected. The broadband infrastructure best suited to support these high-bandwidth needs is fiber. The same study also found that consumers rank reliability, speed and low latency as the top three most important attributes in a network. Fiber delivers in all three of these areas, with fewer service events, higher service uptime and faster upload and download speeds than cable or DSL.
As it turns out, fiber affects quite a bit of how North Americans live and work. The availability of fiber actually plays a large role when people decide where to live and what they will pay for their homes. Among those shopping for condos, very high-speed broadband was the number one influencer for relocating -- outranking a pool, a shorter commute or even an in-unit washer and dryer, RVA found. Fiber also adds to home value: renters will pay 8% more and buyers are willing to ante up 3% more for a fiber-connected home than for one without fiber, according to the research firm.
Fiber networks also transform our ability to work from home. People with fiber were more likely to work remotely than those with other connections, the research determined. The ability to work remotely can give tremendous flexibility to one's daily life and help save time, money and the environment. Last year's US Census found the average round-trip commute is just shy of one hour, and based on research from Global Workplace Analytics, working from home can save people between $2,000 to $6,500 a year.
It also returns an hour to people's days -- time that can be spent with family, exercising, cooking, relaxing or studying -- and money spent on a vacation, new furniture or future investments.
Not only can fiber to the home save time and money, but it also can supercharge entrepreneurship or a side gig. Fiber access would certainly help someone like Corina Sahlin, who lives in a remote part of Skagit County in Washington State. She owns an online sustainable lifestyle business and often finds herself driving 30 minutes to the public library to upload YouTube videos. When the library is closed, she uploads from her car in the library parking lot. In our digital world, high-speed connections are key for people like Corina to reach the full potential of their at-home businesses. Indeed, RVA found 54% of home-based entrepreneurs consider their businesses high tech -- but how can a high-tech business survive without high-tech connectivity from a fiber network?
People in urban, suburban and rural parts of America clearly want and need reliable, high-speed Internet to keep up with the demands of the modern home. That is why we are working so hard to expand investment in fiber networks across the country and to educate policymakers on ways to reduce burdensome regulations so that no matter where you live, you can have access to the best connection possible.
— Lisa R. Youngers is President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA), the only all-fiber trade association in the Americas. Follow them on Twitter @fiberbroadband.
(Home page art: Bruno Cervera on Unsplash)