Fiber Reaches Less Than Half of U.S. Commercial Locations

U.S. business locations with 20 or more employees reached by an optical fiber connection  reached 49.6 percent in 2016, according to Vertical Systems Group. In 2004, optical connections reached only about 10 percent of such locations.

One reason so many business locations, even those with at least 20 workers, are not connected directly by optical fiber is that so many are small locations that do not provide a business case. Roughly half of all commercial buildings represent about 10 percent of total floor space, showing how small most sites are.

The vast majority of commercial buildings are relatively small. About half of buildings are 5,000 square feet in size or smaller, and nearly three-fourths are 10,000 square feet or smaller. The median building size is 5,000 square feet (i.e., half the buildings are larger than this and half are smaller), while the average size is 15,700 square feet.

Buildings over 100,000 square feet (from large high schools to hospitals to sprawling distribution centers to skyscrapers, for example) make up only about two percent of the building count but about 35 percent of the total floorspace.

Many of those smaller locations are markets for consumer-grade connections or non-fiber moderate-speed access connections, and may never be amenable to optical fiber access.


source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Offices represent the single biggest category of locations, followed by warehouse and storage locations; service businesses and retail.

source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


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