Fiber optics, once an expensive and rarely offered service, has hit a major milestone in reach.
In June, the average fiber access rate was 55.6% of households, an increase from 45.9% in December 2021, according to comparison and research website, Broadband Now. Since that time, about 5.6 million new households have subscribed to fiber internet.
This growth spurt is a boon for connectivity in the U.S. in the digital age where there’s big demand for reliable, high-speed internet. While there’s been a surge in alternative internet services – cord cutting 2.0 options like 5G home internet and satellite-based service from Starlink – there remains no more reliable form of connectivity than fiber. The wider fiber access means more people getting access to super-high internet speeds.
With fiber, customers can get all the attributes that make 5G home internet attractive as well as faster upload speeds, better speed reliability, and more plan options.
Even though fiber access has spiked, penetration rates – or how many people actually use fiber – have remained “relatively flat” in locations where the service is available. For example, Broadband Now found that 78% of New York households have access to fiber, but the penetration rate is just 11.30%.
People might not be using fiber internet for a number of reasons. Internet service providers might’ve already achieved market saturation in that area, consumers might be happy with their legacy technology, or there may be a barrier preventing adoption. Price is another factor potentially preventing people from switching.
As of June, Broadband Now said the states with the highest fiber penetration rates were Alaska (44.17%), New Mexico (41.74%), Arizona (35.26%), Nevada (22.39%), and Colorado (21.53%).
On the flip side, states with the lowest rates include North Dakota (0.17%), Vermont (0.22%), Montana (0.36%), Wyoming (0.40%), and South Dakota (0.42%).