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US Small Commercial Buildings: Fibre Access Growth Amidst Connectivity Gap

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New research conducted by consultancy Vertical Systems Group has uncovered significant growth in lit fibre connectivity in small commercial buildings, with less than 20 employees, in the U.S. throughout 2022. However, the study also highlights that over 3.8 million commercial sites still lack access to optical fibre network services.

As businesses increasingly require faster and more reliable internet connectivity, the demand for fibre-optic connections has soared. The study encompasses over 5 million U.S. commercial buildings and data centres, defined as lit if they possess optical fibre connectivity to a network provider’s infrastructure with active termination equipment onsite.

The data reveals that in larger commercial sites with over 250 employees, more than a third (37%) have access to fibre connections from three or more providers. In the medium to large building segment (up to 251 employees), the availability of fibre connections has reached 76.4%. On the other hand, small buildings with fewer than 20 employees have only a 19.1% lit fibre access rate, although this sector experienced the most growth in 2022.

Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, commented on the findings: “Small buildings accounted for the majority of new fibre lit sites during 2022. Suppliers include the hundreds of fibre providers across the U.S. with nationwide, regional, or metro footprints.” Cochran further stated, “Fiber expansion continues to be boosted by multiple factors, including business demand for higher-speed network services, government funding incentives, M&A activity, joint ventures, and private investments.”

Vertical Systems Group also releases a U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD based on commercial buildings lit as of year-end 2022. To qualify for the leaderboard, a company must have lit more than 15,000 buildings. The top ranking companies in this metric were led by AT&T, Verizon, and Spectrum Enterprise. Additionally, the group also identified challengers with between 5,000 and 14,999 U.S. fibre lit commercial buildings.

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