According to a survey of rural carriers conducted by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, these rural providers are deploying fiber considerably faster than one would expect. Consumers are seeing an increase in broadband speeds due to the increase of fiber availability that was given to the communities, said NTCA.
NTCA's 2009 broadband and internet availability survey found that nearly three-quarters, or 73 percent, of respondents with a fiber deployment strategy intend to offer fiber to the node to more than 75 percent of their customer base by 2011. Among respondent, 55 percent plan to offer fiber to the home to more than half their customers in that same time frame – more than double the amount of 26 percent last year.
Of the respondents of the survey, 53 percent said their customers now can receive broadband at between 3 and 6 Megabits per second (Mbps), and 39 percent said their customers can receive service in excess of 6 Mpbs.
Still, fiber deployment costs remain significant, particularly in rural areas and areas with rugged terrain.
NTCA polled all of the telecommunications members in its database. Of the 156 that responded, 67 percent of them have a population density of 10 consumers or less per square mile and 31 percent report that the density of the consumer population is of two consumers or less per square mile.