Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2019

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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INDUSTRY ANALYSIS 3 0 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Looking Ahead: Broadband in 2019 Fiber, cable and wireless providers, along with electric cooperatives, have big plans for broadband in 2019. By Sean Buckley / Broadband Communities L ooking forward to 2019, Broad B and Communities reached out to top industry minds to see what will shape the broadband industry. A few trends are already in motion: Tier 1 and rural telcos are transitioning from copper to fiber, and cable operators are poaching customers with DOCSIS 3.1 services in areas where telcos have not transitioned to fiber. Wireline telcos and cable aren't the only players set to shake up broadband. Wireless operators will advance 5G, a technology that will be delivered in mobile or fixed wireless home configurations. e industry will also be watching how electric cooperatives enhance rural broadband. TELCOS FURTHER FIBER INVESTMENTS Driven by AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) investments will continue to grow. Fiber-based broadband, according to an RVA study commissioned by the Fiber Broadband Association, surpassed DSL in 2018 as the second most common type of home internet connection in North America, following cable. RVA revealed that fiber now passes 39 million homes in the United States (1.6 million of them have multiple fiber passings) and connects 18.6 million homes, up 17 percent over 2017. A large portion – 71 percent – of fiber-to-the-home builds are by large incumbents. e remaining 29 percent are from Tier 2 and 3 providers. "One of the things we saw is that fiber is now second to cable modem coax, taking over the spot from DSL," said Mike Render, president of RVA, during a webinar discussing the study's findings. "We expect the gap between coax and fiber to continue to narrow." Although Verizon is still the largest U.S. fiber provider, with a total of 15 million homes passed (plus several million homes passed in territories it sold to other providers), AT&T remains the dominant current player in the U.S. FTTH market. In 2018, it added more than 3 million locations, now reaching more than 10 million locations across 84 metros. In December, AT&T launched FTTH internet in parts of 12 new metro areas. AT&T will continue its fiber penetration, adding about 4 million more homes passed and densifying within its current footprint. AT&T finds that the longer it has fiber in a market, the higher its penetration. By mid-2019, AT&T plans to reach 14 million locations. Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst for Broadbandtrends, contends AT&T's aggressive buildout is a catalyst in the North American market. "e bulk of the FTTH growth was from AT&T, which announced it has 3 million subscribers," Mastrangelo says. "AT&T is still

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