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Light Reading Network X Americas
May 21-23, 2024
Irving Convention Center at Las ColinasIrving, Texas

The North American Fiber Market

In October 2020, the FCC established a 5G Fund for Rural America offering $9bn of funding over 10 years. The investments will be allocated through a reverse auction in two phases and will be focused on helping to connect underserved rural areas with 5G connectivity. 

In January 2020, the FCC established the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to ensure continued and rapid deployment of broadband networks to unserved Americans. The fund commits up to $20.4bn over the next decade to support up to gigabit-speed broadband networks in rural America. 

In November 2021, the US Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve the country’s infrastructure and competitiveness, including dedicating $65bn for broadband access. The broadband funds will be distributed through several programs, and the aims of the programs are to close the digital divide and lower broadband prices. 

In the past year, US broadband subscriptions have grown by 5% or 6.6 million to reach 130.2 million at the end of 3Q22.

Together, LTE and 5G FWA subscriptions accounted for 3.5 million net additions from 3Q21 to 3Q22, surpassing even fiber net additions, which were 3.0 million over the same period.

FWA has staked its place as a serious competitor in the US market. Both T-Mobile and Verizon are experiencing strong growth with this technology.

The timing of FWA’s growth coincides with the high inflation environment, and FWA plans are generally priced lower than traditional broadband technologies.

Total US broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow by 15.8% from end2021 to end-2027, reaching 144.8 million subscriptions. Over this period,LTE/5G FWA is forecast to grow by 665.5% and fiber by 90.8%.

Broadband service revenue is forecast to grow by 25.8% from end-2021 to end-2027, with FWA revenue seeing the strongest growth over this period, forecast to grow by 714.7%.

Supporting Resources

US: Service Provider Market Report

2023 Trends to Watch: Passive Optical Networks