The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) surveys their members (850 rural rate-of-return regulated telecommunications providers in 44 states) annually. You can learn a lot from the results. I was focused on recognizing how many independent rural telcos have grown into full service FTTH providers. Especially as the MN Broadband Task Force looks at how to get better broadband to the far corners of the state, this survey is a reminder that is can be done. That lots of providers are doing this – we just need to support the ones that are making the connections for the future!
For example, it’s great to see the download and upload speed averages. More than half of the customers can get gig access down or up; while less than 4 percent are stuck with 10 Mbps down and less than 9 percent stuck with 3 Mbps up. A critical mass is being reached, which means we can start to set expectations higher.
With respect to downstream service availability, on average, respondents reported that the following percentages of their customer base can receive maximum speeds of:
- Greater than/equal to 1 Gig: 55.4%
- Greater than/equal to 100 Mbps but less than 1 Gig: 20.2%
- Greater than/equal to 25 Mbps but less than 100 Mbps: 10.6%
- Greater than/equal to 10 Mbps but less than 25 Mbps: 10.1%
- Less than 10 Mbps: 3.7%
With respect to upstream service availability, respondents indicated the following percentages of their customer base can receive, on average, maximum speeds of:
- Greater than/equal to 1 Gig: 52.3%
- Greater than/equal to 100 Mbps but less than 1 Gig: 21.3%
- Greater than/equal to 20 Mbps but less than 100 Mbps: 6.4%
- Greater than/equal to 10 Mbps but less than 20 Mbps: 5.2%
- Greater than/equal to 3 Mbps but less than 10 Mbps: 6.2%
- Less than 3 Mbps: 8.5%
So the next question is – how can we help the providers that want to extend fiber? As the graphic below indicates, cost is still the major barrier and the public sector is poised to help dole out unprecedented funds in the upcoming years.
The next step is looking at adoption to ensure that demand will meet growing supplies…