Light Reading

FCC Data: Fixed Broadband Still Growing

Mari Silbey
12/30/2013
50%
50%

The latest Internet Access Services report from the FCC confirms that American broadband subscriptions are on the rise.

As of the end of 2012, the latest time period for which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has data, 69.7% of fixed Internet connections met the broadband speed threshold of 3 Mbit/s downstream and 768 kbit/s upstream. That's a measurable increase over the 64% statistic cited only six months prior. Total fixed Internet subscriptions also rose from 90 million to 92.6 million in the second half of the year. (See US Still Suffers Broadband Divide.)

The mobile broadband trends are even more dramatic. Only 37.8% of mobile connections met the speed requirements for broadband classification, according to the FCC's report, but that number marks a significant improvement over the 28% figure reported six months earlier. Total mobile Internet connections also jumped from 153 million in the middle of 2012 to 169.2 million at the end of that year.

While the FCC's broadband access report paints a rosy picture, there are some mitigating factors to consider. Most notably, the jump in mobile connections coincides with an apparent growth trend in the percentage of American households that rely on wireless service as their sole source of Internet access.

According to the Pew Internet Home Broadband 2013 report published in August, 10% of households use only mobile connections to access the Internet. In contrast, an expert from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies estimated last March that the number of mobile-only subscribers was down around 7%. While the number from the Joint Center was only estimation, the suggestion that mobile access is substituting for fixed Internet in a growing segment of the population makes sense in the context of other evidence. Smartphone penetration continues to rise, and many households can't afford both a higher mobile phone bill and the cost of fixed Internet service at home.

There is also the issue of disparity in Internet access across different states. In the FCC's latest report, Massachusetts took the prize as the state with the highest percentage of households claiming fixed broadband connections with a total of 77%. New Jersey wasn't far behind with 76%. However, at the bottom of the state list, Mississippi pulled down the average with a measly 24% fixed broadband penetration rate.

Meanwhile, cable dominated as the most popular form of Internet access across the country. In the second half of 2012, the number of cable broadband subscriptions grew nearly 17% to 44.1 million. Asymmetric DSL broadband subs grew just over 1% to top 13 million. And fiber-to-the-premises broadband connections increased 7.07% to hit 6.43 million.

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

(21)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
GeoTel
50%
50%
GeoTel,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/3/2014 | 2:17:27 PM
Consistency
Getting to see growth that is that significant in such a short amount of time is impressive and encouraging! Who knows where speeds for mobile data or FTTH will be in two years...
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
1/2/2014 | 11:52:59 AM
Re: Mobile
Kind of like the Carlson Wireless trial in California?
davidhoffman
50%
50%
davidhoffman,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/2/2014 | 11:49:34 AM
Re: Mobile
In large metropolitan areas with dozens of OTA broadcast stations there is little, if any, TVWS. In many rural areas you not only have TVWS but completely empty ATSC channels.  The rural areas are where I envision TVWS providing a significant alternative to satellite or dialup internet access. I know several people who might benefit from getting such a service. We are not talking about some super Gigabit per second service. It would be something that in many cases would only meet the very bottom of the FCC definition of broadband, 3 Mbps down and 0.75 Mbps up I think it is.  One reason to use such low maximum data transfer rates would be to simplify administration of the subscriber accounts.  At such low data transfer rates, monthly caps that have to be tracked might be eliminated from consideration by the ISP.
msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
1/2/2014 | 9:51:56 AM
Re: Mobile
Karl- Interesting question. I took a quick look back through the report and couldn't tell. But I did notice that the FCC was actually using 3mbps/768kbps as a proxy for the broadband threshold rather than the actual demarcation of 4mbps/1mbps. Apparently their forms all had the lower number so they had to use that as a dividing line. In short, the number of actual broadband mobile connections may be even lower. 

 
msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
1/2/2014 | 9:51:56 AM
Re: Mobile
Karl- Interesting question. I took a quick look back through the report and couldn't tell. But I did notice that the FCC was actually using 3mbps/768kbps as a proxy for the broadband threshold rather than the actual demarcation of 4mbps/1mbps. Apparently their forms all had the lower number so they had to use that as a dividing line. In short, the number of actual broadband mobile connections may be even lower. 

 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/1/2014 | 1:24:13 PM
Re: Mobile
I think the loss of cable VoIP customers is also going to accelerate as people try to offset soaring programming costs by trimming their home voice and going cell only -- especially as VoLTE arrives and voice quality improves. That of course means a much harder push in 2014 for caps and meters.

That 37.8% mobile metric is interesting. I couldn't see it in the report yet, but by "mobile connecions" are they including feature phones?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/31/2013 | 1:05:40 PM
Re: Mobile
Is there enough TVWS spectrum available to make it viable?
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
12/31/2013 | 1:04:28 PM
Re: Mobile
Interesting, thanks for the info.
davidhoffman
50%
50%
davidhoffman,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/31/2013 | 7:54:43 AM
Re: Mobile
A lot of people who use satellite ISPs transfer to cellular based ISPs if they can afford to set up the parabolic antennas, amplifiers, and other hardware needed to do so. I have helped several people set up Millenicom, Verizon, and Sprint accounts so that they can get either better than dialup internet access or get rid of satellite internet access. The move by Verizon to offer Home Fusion will probably be followed by other mobile operators creating similar offerings. 

The other area that is anticipated will be fixed location TV White Space utilization to provide internet access services in areas that presently have only dialup wired connectivity. 
msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/30/2013 | 11:21:16 PM
Re: Mobile
Interestingly, the threshold for broadband classification took into consideration the speeds that mobile carriers could deliver. (Blair Levin talked about this at some DC event a few years back.) The theory was that wireless provides would be there to pick up the slack from some of the wireline companies. 
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (7) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (1) comment


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones