NTCA Members Battling Obstacles to Provide Higher Broadband Speeds

  • NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
ARLINGTON, VA – The nation’s small, independent telecommunications providers continue to make significant progress in providing high-speed broadband to rural Americans despite high deployment costs and regulatory uncertainty, according to a new survey by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.

The “NTCA 2016 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report” found that:

  • 89 percent of survey respondents cited the cost to deploy fiber infrastructure as the No. 1 barrier to its widespread availability.

  • 52 percent of survey respondents currently deploying fiber serve at least 50 percent of their customers using fiber to the home (FTTH).

  • 82 percent of survey respondents indicated they had a long-term fiber deployment strategy.

  • 39 percent of those respondents with a fiber deployment strategy plan to offer fiber to the node to more than

  • 75 percent of their customers by year-end 2019, while 66 percent plan to offer fiber to the home to at least50 percent of their customers over the same time frame.

  • An additional 31 percent have already completed fiber deployments to all customers.


Additionally, survey respondents are making higher-speed broadband service available to customers who want it.

  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents’ customers can receive a maximum downstream speed of greater than 25 Mbps and 20 percent can receive between 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps.

  • While take rates traditionally lag behind availability, rural consumers are increasingly subscribing to higher broadband speeds. In the 2016 report 17 percent of respondents’ customers subscribed to broadband service in excess of 25 Mbps, versus 8 percent a year ago.

  • And 60 percent percent subscribe to service of 4 Mbps or greater, versus 55 percent a year ago. The overall broadband take rate remains relatively constant at 72 percent this year compared to 73 percent last year.


“NTCA members are the proven broadband solutions providers for their communities, living in the communities they serve and providing critically important broadband service to community anchor institutions,” said NTCA Manager of Economic Research and Analysis Rick Schadelbauer, the report’s author. “In so doing, they make significant contributions to the safety, health and overall well-being of their customers. Their service helps facilitate the overall viability of rural America.”

Twenty-nine percent of NTCA members participated in the online survey in the spring of 2017. The survey comprised general questions about the respondents’ current operations, competition, marketing efforts, and current and planned fiber deployment. Additional questions addressed the Internet backbone, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and video.

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