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July 13, 2007

FTTH Council Survey Says Teleworking, Home-Based Businesses Driven by Growth of Fiber-to-the-Home

A recent survey by the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council shows that a significant number of Americans getting their home Internet services through direct fiber optic connections are using those services to telecommute an average of one-third of the time or to run their own home-based businesses.

The survey conducted by RVA Market Research. Fiber optic connections enable more 13 percent of the respondents to work from home more often – a monthly average of 7.3 more workdays at home instead of the office. Around 59 percent of these telecommuters have an FTTH connection, which results in their employer being more favorable about their working from home.

While ten percent of respondents use their FTTH connection to run a home-based business, 90 percent said that having a high-bandwidth fiber optic connection was either “very important” or “somewhat important” to their business activities.

“With more than 1.5 million homes now wired with fiber and growth in FTTH continuing to accelerate, we are starting to get an indication of how this high-bandwidth technology is changing our culture,” said Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council in a statement to the press.

He continued: “Many people are reporting that their home connections to their employer’s networks are faster than the connections in their office. These new online capabilities at home are giving them alternatives to long commutes and high gasoline prices, as well as new options with regard to where they live and how they conduct their work.”

Based on in-depth surveys of FTTH customers across the U.S., the RVA report also found a high level of customer satisfaction with fiber-to-the-home services. 85 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the services. The percentage is considerably higher than satisfaction rates measured for customers using cable modem, DSL and dial-up connections.

More than a third of FTTH customers reported receiving lower price packages for competing services since fiber became available in their communities.

Savage points out that even in the early stages of deployment, fiber-to-the-home services are offering a significant boost in connection speeds over the copper-based cable and DSL services that are commonly referred as broadband.

Savage believes in future FTTH service providers will offer much higher transmission speeds as they upgrade their networks. He notes that companies like Verizon (News - Alert) and Surewest are already offering 50 Mbps service through their fiber-to-the-home services, and that some public utility districts in Washington State are offering 100 Mbps in their service areas.

While the majority of the 1.5 million FTTH connections in the are through Verizon’s FiOS service, the remaining FTTH subscribers get their service from municipalities, local public utilities and service providers in private real estate developments that are wired with fiber, as well as small rural telephone companies, medium-sized telephone service providers and cable companies, and private facilities-based competitive local exchange carriers.

According to Mike Render of RVA, the number of FTTH subscribers has doubled in each of the past two years, and that fiber-enabled telecommuting could have a wide impact as FTTH services expand to more people in the coming years.

“As fiber-to-the-home grows, and you begin to apply this impact across many millions of people, you can begin to see an impact on our commuting patterns – resulting in fewer cars on the road, fewer gallons of gasoline being consumed, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and less traffic-induced stress on working Americans,” concludes Renders.


Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering call centers, CRM and information technology. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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