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Fiber Broadband Association Research Advisory Program

The Fiber Broadband Association Research Advisory program is designed to produce informative research to help drive business decisions and provide proof of the impact of fiber broadband. If you have specific topics of interest, want to know what the upcoming white papers/research notes are, or are interested in research sponsorship opportunities, please contact Deborah Kish.

Magazine Fiber Forward 

This section includes all editions of Fiber Broadband Association's Quarterly Magazine, Fiber Forward. Inside, you will find pertinent fiber industry information and how fiber presents limitless possibilities.

To subscribe to the printed version of Fiber Forward, click here

2021 A Year In Review 2021 Cover

First Quarter 2022      1Q22 Cover

Second Quarter 2022  q2cover.png

White Paper - Digital Equity and Broadband Connectivity: All Fiber Infrastructure Alone is the Solution  

Where broadband networks get built must be all inclusive and not determined by the income, race, ethnicity, or religion of the people in the communities they will serve. In this White Paper, we explore the critical services and applications that all-fiber broadband makes possible, why all Americans need to be able to connect to it, and the internet adoption challenges and efforts to address those challenges. Get the full report here.

Fiber Workforce Needed by 2026 

Based on  future route mile construction forecasts from RVA (which includes both greater homes-passed and greater average distances between homes given more rural build), fiber engineering and construction employment will have to increase nearly 80% to 417,373 by 2026. Get the analysis here.

Strategies to Mitigate Bottlenecks in the Current Fiber Broadband Supply Chain 

With customers demanding faster and more reliable connections for their increased needs when working and schooling from home, and the US government continuing to pour funds into the construction of new networks to connect rural and underserved areas, the demand for new fiber broadband has never been higher.

We detail here various mitigation strategies to assist companies in successful and timely deployment of new fiber networks. Those strategies range from stronger partnerships with vendors, extended planning times, high level design optimization, and changes in how companies recruit and train their labor force to AI-based and smarter technology options to plan and manage stock levels.  To download a copy, please click here.

A Detailed Review: The Status of U.S. Broadband and the Impact of Fiber Broadband 

This report is primarily built on RVA consumer research which has been annually sponsored by the Fiber Broadband Association or FBA (formerly FTTH Council North America) since 2006.  The results of this study can be broken down into five key areas:  Digital Equity, Performance, Economic Impact, Sustainability and Quality of Life / Personal Productivity.  To download a copy, please click here.

Impact of Fiber on a Community 

Executive Summary - Fiber Community Profile: Douglas County Oregon -  By leveraging a fiber backbone facilitated in part by the incumbent electrical service cooperative, residents of Douglas County launched Douglas Fast Net (DFN), based in Roseburg, Oregon, in 2000. This case study profiles how one rural community in Oregon closed this digital divide.

Executive Summary: Fiber Community Profile: Westfield Gas & Electric -  This study describes how one small community in western Massachusetts addressed the need for reasonably priced high-speed symmetrical broadband service through the installation of a fiber optic infrastructure that not only serves the city but has prompted and facilitated similar fiber adoption throughout the region. 

Fiber Broadband Saves Time!

Here we show upload and download times required for various commonly used file types across the multiple technologies.  Click here to download your copy. 

US Broadband Blitz - Timeline and Impact

A study by Independence Research LLC February 2022 recaps the Government funding in broadband Infrastructure. Click here to download your copy.

Results of the 2021 Fiber Provider Study

Mike Render, Principal and Founder, RVA LLC released the latest North American fiber broadband deployment numbers based on 2021 market research among providers from market research conducted for the Fiber Broadband Association. The results break down the 2021 growth especially in the US and Canada and the diversity in provider types including growth in electric cooperatives, and municipalities/PUDs. The report will also shows an indication of overall fiber deployment, including the future impact of 5G.  Click here to download your copy.

White Paper: Broadband Capability Assessment: Fiber-to-the-Home vs. LEOS

Emerging Low Earth Orbit Satellite (LEOS) broadband networks are promising global “high-speed connectivity” to underserved areas.  This paper describes how the intrinsic architecture of proposed LEOS networks severely limits the capability to provide sufficient data rates to subscribers compared to FTTH Networks.

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Reference: Fiber is the Fundamental Technology for 21st Century Communications

The Fiber Broadband Association presents this short reference document based on the White Paper "The Market Has Spoken" as a quick guide to the industry trends driving interest and investment in fiber broadband as critical infrastructure. 

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White Paper: The Market Has Spoken

The Fiber Broadband Association presents this White Paper to help educate, inform, and persuade policy-makers, the marketplace, and our industry on the trends that are driving unprecedented interest and investment in fiber broadband infrastructure. 

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White Paper: Comparison: Fixed Wireless Access vs. All-Fiber Networks for Broadband Access

Consumers and communities increasingly understand the value of high performance, FTTH networks and are demanding that service providers provide such access. By contrast, fixed wireless service serves a limited market. As the demand for bandwidth continues to rise, future deployments will increasingly favor fiber over fixed wireless networks. This paper will compare the two technologies to highlight the many reasons why this is the case. 

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Access the Summary

Report: Building Bandwidth: Preparing Indigenous Youth for a Digital Future

Over the next decade, 750,000 Indigenous youth will move through the education system and into early careers. What will they need to thrive in the Canadian economy of the 2020s? Advanced technologies are transforming every sector in the country. From mining and forestry to retail and entertainment, the demand for digital skills is accelerating—and disrupting old jobs and ways. 

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Whitepaper: The Rural Digital Divide: Fiber Broadband Can Eliminate The North American Rural Digital Divide (June 2021)

Rural areas in North America have lacked adequate high speed broadband availability compared to metropolitan areas for many years representing a digital divide in the continent. The pandemic highlighted that challenge after forcing nearly all interactions to be conducted from the home, exposing the insufficiency or lack of broadband available in these areas. The result is lower productivity, lagging education, declining economic development opportunities and poorer health outcomes for rural residents.  

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Access the Summary

TCO: Fiber vs. Fixed Wireless Access (May 2021)

TCO: Fiber vs. Fixed Wireless – This quick reference guide provides evidence that fiber is less expensive than fixed wireless access with significantly higher immediate and long term benefits.  

Access the Quick Reference Guide

Starlink RDOF Assessment (February 2021)

Cartesian developed an independent analysis and a model to help the FCC analyze whether Starlink is likely to meet the RDOF public interest obligations. This final report was prepared for the Fiber Broadband Association and NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association.

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Access Network OpEx Analysis White Paper (June 2020)

Network Operators and Policy Makers need to understand the quantified operating expenses (OpEx) for Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC), DSL over Copper, and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) – to help guide network investment decisions. We analyzed different components that contribute to OpEx and determined that truck rolls to address network problems and churn management are the main OpEx drivers, and all-fiber networks, due to a simpler, more reliable, and higher-performance infrastructure, can save $54/yr/home passed vs. HFC and $91/yr/home passed vs. DSL. Over a 10 yr period the savings accumulate to $540 per home passed vs DSL and $910 per home passed vs. DSL. Fiber is clearly the answer to lower OpEx expenses and lower lifecycle costs!

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Consumer Broadband Pandemic Study (May 2020)

Since 2007, each Spring, The Fiber Broadband Association has commissioned RVA LLC to conduct one of the most comprehensive annual consumer broadband Internet usage studies in North America. Some of the data from this study is publicly released each year, while other components are used to inform Association members. The 2020 version of the study has just finished fielding. Given the extraordinary times we are in and the importance of timely relevant information, the following key topline findings were analyzed quickly. As difficult as the current Pandemic and the associated economic shutdown has been, it is apparent from this study that broadband has been extremely important to mitigating the personal and economic damage from this event. Yet clearly, work to improve our Internet Infrastructure remains.

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Annual Fiber Deployment Market Research Report (December 2019)

RVA LLC released the latest North American fiber broadband deployment numbers based on 2019 market research among providers from market research conducted for the Fiber Broadband Association.

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Broadband Experience Index (October 2019)

FBA released a new metric called the Broadband Experience Index (“BEI”). The BEI, developed for FBA by Render Associates, is intended to give consumers a more comprehensive and reliable methodology for comparing broadband services in real-world applications rather than only measuring broadband based on speeds. The BEI is designed to capture how consumers view differences in performance among various network technologies and provides support for FBA’s proposed weighting methodology to be used for broadband funding decisions in the FCC’s RDOF proceeding and which may be applied to other broadband funding decisions at the state and federal level. The BEI concludes that, based on its analytical methodology, fiber is providing the “best in class” consumer broadband experience.

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Reverse Auction Weighting Methodology Study (September 2019)

In conjunction with the FBA RDOF filings fall of 2019, FBA released research conducted by Cartesian that studied the weighting methodology used in the FCC 2018 Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction. Cartesian found that the CAF II auction penalized high-performance broadband providers and failed to account for the full socio-economic benefits of these networks.

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FTTH Cost Study (September 2019)

The Fiber Broadband Association and strategy consulting firm Cartesian released a study that explores the costs associated with deploying all-fiber networks to all households across the entire United States. More than 19 million Americans lack access to broadband — and the vast majority live in rural communities. In fact, 24% of rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps service, but less than 2% of urban Americans lack this same broadband access. Deploying fiber in rural communities will be a key step to solving the digital divide in the United States.

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Broadband Speed and Unemployment Rates (April 2019)

We examine the effects of broadband speed on county unemployment rates in the U.S. state of Tennessee. We merge the older National Broadband Map dataset and the newer FCC dataset in lengthening our broadband access data over the period 2011–2015. Extending the dataset improves the precision of the estimates. Our panel regressions control for potential selection bias and reverse causality and show that broadband speed matters: unemployment rates are about 0.26 percentage points lower in counties with high speeds compared to counties with low speeds. Ultra-high speed broadband also appears to reduce unemployment rates; however, we are unable to distinguish between the effects of high and ultra-high speed broadband. We document beneficial effects of the early adoption of high speed broadband on unemployment rates. Better quality broadband appears to have a disproportionately greater effect in rural areas.

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The Road to 5G is Paved with Fiber White Paper (December 2017)

Fiber Broadband Association released a white paper on the necessity of fiber broadband for 5G networks. This paper explains how more wireline fiber—and a substantial amount of it—will be needed to support the next generation of our wireless networks.

Access the White Paper