In the End, Consumer Demand Matters

Sustainability matters. And that applies to business models for fixed network Internet access service, in rural parts of the United States as well as Europe.

According to a recent survey, 83 percent of rural customers sell Internet access at 10 Mbps or greater, up from 66 percent in 2013.  But only about a third of customers actually buy service at 10 Mbps or higher.

In the European Union, about 68 percent of homes are able to purchase fixed network access at a minimum of 30 Mbps.

At 89.6 percent, rural fixed broadband coverage also stayed at its 2013 level, but availability of NGA technologies in rural areas increased from 18.1 percent in 2013 to 25.1 percent of rural homes passed by high-speed networks in 2014, according to the

Some 45 percent of rural service providers who responded to the survey said optical fiber serves at least half of their customers.

About 85  percent of survey respondents indicated they had a long-term fiber deployment strategy.

Fully 74 percent of those respondents with a fiber deployment strategy plan to offer fiber to the node to more than 75 percent of their customers by year-end 2017.

About 67 percent plan to offer fiber to the home to at least half of their customers over the same time frame.

High speed access is purchased by about 70 percent of service provider customers.

About a third buy service at 10 Mbps or faster. About 10 percent buy service at 6 Mbps up to 10 Mbps. About nine percent buy service at 4 Mbps to 6 Mbps.

Population density in most member service areas is generally one to five customers per square mile. But low density, and very long access loops, does not seem to account for the relatively low speeds most customers are buying. Fully 83 percent seem to be able to buy it.
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