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Fiber Penetration Reaches 22%, Gap for SMBs Widens

Attention, competitors: The midmarket not only wants fiber, but needs it: It’s suffering from a widening “fiber gap” that threatens to affect their ability to compete in a world that demands ever-faster communications and business processes.

New FTTx deployments during 2009 increased “last-mile” business fiber availability to 22.9 percent of sites in the United States and up to 15.1 percent of sites in Europe, according to Vertical Systems Group‘s latest research.

 

Not surprisingly, it’s the small and medium business (SMB) set that continues to lag. Detailed findings show that while most large enterprise locations in the U.S. and Europe are fiber-connected, SMB sites are underserved with fiber from any service provider (i.e., incumbent carrier, competitive provider, cable MSO, PTT, etc.).

Fiber is the preferred access technology for network services like Ethernet or IP VPNs in support of business applications that require up to gigabit per second bandwidth rates, indicating a potential pent-up demand among SMBs.

“The good news is that overall accessibility to business fiber has more than doubled within the past five years,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “Larger enterprises are the primary beneficiaries of new fiber installations, which have been focused on business parks and metro areas with high population densities. The challenge ahead is to extend fiber connectivity to remote business locations. For the U.S. plus countries throughout Europe, this fiber gap exceeds more than one million sites.”


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