Those of us that follow telecom closely recognize that Iowa is somewhat of a unique telecom situation. For a state that is relatively low in population, Iowa has the most (by # of actual carriers) telecom service providers than any state – somewhere north of 130 carriers. So it’s no surprise that Iowa has been identified by the FTTH Council as the state with the most FTTH carriers. Does that make it the epicenter of FTTH? Joe Savage, the president of the FTTH Council seems to believe so, based on his guest column in the Des Moines Register. “While the number of FTTH subscribers in the state is still relatively low – about 41,000 – this number will grow because there are many small telephone companies in Iowa looking to stay competitive. In fact, the state ranks No. 1 in the country with regard to the number of FTTH service providers it has – nearly 40 in various stages of deployment …” says Savage in his column.
Truth be told, there’s a lot to learn from Iowa. These 40 FTTH carriers don’t get the press coverage of Verizon FiOS, but their operational insight and experience on FTTH is quite valuable. You could easily call them pioneers. There is a popular opinion that suggests all telecom carriers will be compelled to offer FTTH eventually. The competitive reality of the marketplace may dictate it and the falling price per port for FTTH (although the construction costs will still be hard to swallow) will eventually justify it. Telecom carriers that follow in the footsteps of these early adopters of FTTH will have a good base to learn from.