FTTH Is Growing, but How Fast?

Carl Weinschenk

This release, from the Fiber-to-the-Home Council and the Telecommunications Industry Association, says that more than 300,000 additional homes are passed by FTTH each month.


It's hard to get a grip on the number. In the first place, a home passed isn't a home taking service. There is a big difference -- one is a consumer household and one isn't. Still, a home must be passed before it subscribes, so the number isn't insignificant. Further, the study says that the number of homes passed in the United States has increased by more than 50 percent since March. That's good growth, even if the base number is small.


It pays to take such studies with a grain of salt, however, since they are run by folks who have a vested interest in their outcome. Indeed, in this case, the numbers seem a bit out of whack. For instance, the release says that more than 1 million homes in North America now are connected to FTTH. The networks, according to the report, pass 6 million homes.


That means that one out of six homes passed by FTTH take the service. That number is even more impressive because other forms of fiber distribution, such as fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) or fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP), which casual observers may naturally lump with FTTH, aren't counted in this total. That's a high percentage for one flavor of fiber networking.


A rah-rah, hard-to-believe press release doesn't mean, however, that FTTH should be discounted. Far from it. It's clear that FTTH and other forms of fiber distribution are growing significantly. Over-enthusiastic marketing also doesn't mean that fiber isn't the most efficient, highest capacity and potentially most economical way to distribute voice, video and data.

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