Though the rate of increase slowed during the pandemic, the number of U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings continued to grow in 2020, according to Vertical Systems Group. AT&T once again has the most fiber lit buildings.
Just behind A&T in terms of number of commercial lit buildings are: Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Lumen, Comcast, Cox, Crown Castle Fiber, Atlantic Broadband, Frontier, Zayo and Altice USA, respectively, according to Vertical Systems Group. Each of these fiber providers had 15,000 or more on-net U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings as of year-end 2020.
Just below the 15,000 building threshold, in alphabetical order, were Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, Conterra, DQE Communications, Everstream, FirstLight, IFN, Logix Fiber Networks, Segra, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber and Windstream. Each had at least 2,000 U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings.
Challenges for service providers in the market ranged from “impeded installations due to commercial building closures and business shutdowns to supply chain disruptions,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in a prepared statement. “As the economy rebounds in 2021, fiber providers have opportunities to monetize the millions of small and medium U.S. commercial buildings without fiber, as well as larger multi-tenant buildings with only a single fiber provider. However, it remains uncertain how changes in U.S. regulatory policies and federal funding could alter fiber investments and deployment plans in the next several years.”
Smaller buildings serving fewer businesses are less likely to be fiber-connected than larger buildings serving more businesses. Vertical Systems Group Research from last year at this time found that only about 12% of small commercial buildings are lit.