09 April 2024 | Blogs

Keeping up with the growing pace of FTTH in the US

Following up on the recent Connected America event this spring, the fiber-to-the-home outlook for 2024 and 2025 looks promising and challenging for Communications Service Providers (CSPs). Planning what FTTH equipment suits your various deployment scenarios in the evolving broadband landscape can help you keep up with the expanding market.

Record FTTH growth in 2023

According to the Fiber Broadband Association, while 2023 was still a record year for fiber expansion, 2024 is a turning point for our industry. The 2023 North America Fiber Provider Survey from FBA and RVA LLC Market Research & Consulting (RVA) reveals that fiber has been deployed to 78 million homes as of December 2023, growing 13% year-over-year. Fiber broadband hit all new records, with 9 million newly passed U.S. homes added by network operators in 2023, of which 6 million previously passed homes did not have fiber. RVA estimates that there are 140 million more addressable households for FTTH, representing an enormous market opportunity for many years.

Planning for funding

Bridging the digital divide by providing high-speed internet to rural areas is a priority to develop the US’ fiber infrastructure. Several government programs and private partnerships focus on underserved and remote regions. For example, the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program earmarked USD 42.45 billion to accelerate the expansion of high-speed internet within the next five years. In December 2023, Louisana became the first state to receive approval for its BEAD proposal. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) BEAD timeline predicts that most funding distribution will start from late 2024 into early 2025. There are several other federal programs available, including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Department of Treasury’s $10B Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPR), the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), U.S. Department of Agriculture’s RUS Reconnect Fund, and state funding programs, in addition to private investment.

Searching for implementation options

With government, public, and private funding fueling the rapid FTTH expansion in the US, a key reflection from Connected America is that CSPs are searching for where to start, from digging the fiber and the permitting process to selecting hardware. There is a keen interest in having the most cost-efficient and future-proof equipment. These needs are mainly motivated by consumer demand for higher speeds, the transition from analog or cable to fiber, and upgrading and migrating to the next level of technology.

More flexibility with agnostic ONTs

Besides bringing the fiber to the homes, CSPs are obliged in their funding process to carefully consider their choice of optical line terminals (OLTs) and optical network terminals (ONTs) equipment. While there is a high potential that more OLT solutions will be installed, an agnostic independent ONT applicable to any OLT has several advantages. These include:

  • Streamlining operations and reducing complexities in handling diverse equipment is cost-effective and reduces the total cost of ownership.
  • Customization for diverse deployment needs. The FTTH landscape is not a one-size-fits-all. Different operators have distinct business models and requirements. Working with agonistic ONT vendors provides flexibility.

Genexis - FiberTwist P2420

As a leading ONT vendor, Genexis works with CSPs, network operators, internet service providers, and fiber network installers to find the most suitable Genexis ONT for different and multiple deployment scenarios. These can be the current preferred XGS-PON or 10G Point-to-Point while still supporting the current standards of GPON and 1G Point-to-Point.

Overall, as the FTTH landscape in the US expands, we are ready to support and partner with CSPs looking to leverage agnostic ONTs to meet consumer needs for more bandwidth, diverse deployment scenarios, and evolving technologies.

Author: Jan Buis