Fiber connectivity is a great boon to a business – if it gets to their building. The industry has been talking about fiber for so long it is perhaps surprising that the long transition from copper to fiber among businesses has not even hit the halfway point yet. It is, however, getting close.
Late last week, Vertical Systems Group said that last year, 46.2 percent of businesses with 20 or more employees were connected by fiber. The connections were in either company-owned buildings or multi-company buildings in which the organization is a tenant.
According to the press release, a driver of the increase was a concentration on “greenfield metro areas and mid-size multi-tenant buildings.”
The growth is obvious, with a tremendous amount of news announcements on an ongoing basis about competitive efforts to bring fiber to buildings. A couple of recent items were particularly impressive.
Earlier this month, WOW! Business extended its fiber to the Willis Tower, the former Sears Tower, in Chicago, according to Fierce Telecom. Data speeds as fast as 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) will be available. This is a product of WOW!’s deal to acquire fiber conduit beneath Wacker Drive, a key commercial street in Chicago.
A second example was Alpheus Communications’ announcement last week that it will provide fiber connections to 2,400 buildings near fiber networks, which represents 14,000 businesses, in Houston, Dallas and Austin. When completed, Alpheus will have passed the 10,000 near-net buildings serving 65,000 businesses in Texas.
There is always a dark cloud, and it is often brought by incumbent telephone companies. The industry has a tendency to say that any legislation or regulation that it doesn’t like will cut investment and retard business overall. It usually turns out not to be true. That said, its trade group, USTelecom, recently released a study that predicts that emerging rules will do just that. InsideSources hit the high points:
New rules by the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the rates large Internet service providers charge smaller providers to borrow their infrastructure could result in a slow rollout of next-gen networks, billions of dollars in economic output and thousands of jobs according to an industry study released Wednesday.
It remains to be seen, of course, if the dire forecasts come true this time around. At this point, it is apparent that a lot of fiber is reaching businesses of increasingly smaller size. Hopefully, demand will continue to rise and regulators will do whatever is necessary to encourage the growth – or just stay out of its way.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.