Nearly one quarter (24.7%) of commercial buildings now are fiber connected to network services as fiber reached 1.3 million office buildings in 2021, according to the most recent ENS @Fiber Plus research from Vertical Systems Group (VSG).
This is more than double the percentage commercial buildings of two years ago, according to VSG.
However, there is a significant disparity among different sizes of commercial buildings, according to the research.
The Fiber 20+ category, which includes buildings with twenty or more employees, had a 2021 fiber availability rate of 74.5% in 2021, but that rate was only 16.3% for the Fiber <20 segments, buildings with fewer than twenty employees.
Last year, the Fiber <20 segment added the majority of new fiber lit buildings. Monetizing more of those buildings is a key opportunity for the Fiber <20 segment, researchers said.
Nearly three-quarters of all U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings are served by a single fiber provider, according to the research. A fiber lit building is defined to include multi-tenant and company-owned commercial sites plus data centers that have on-net optical fiber connectivity to a network provider’s infrastructure and active service termination equipment onsite.
Standalone cell towers, small cells not located in fiber lit buildings, near net buildings, buildings classified as coiled at curb or coiled in building, HFC-connected buildings, carrier central offices, residential buildings and private or dark fiber installations were excluded from the analysis.
“Business fiber installations rebounded during 2021 as the U.S. began to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Rosemary Cochran, Vertical Systems Group principal, in a prepared statement. “New fiber investments are being driven by multiple factors, including advancements in fiber optic technology, federal regulatory initiatives, and expanded federal funding for fiber infrastructure. Additionally, the fiber deployments supporting 5G and edge compute services are enabling build outs for nearby unlit commercial sites.”
Many carriers have seen the opportunities that bringing fiber to commercial buildings can provide, including Lumen Technologies, which late last year unveiled plans to bring fiber service to 600K more buildings nationwide.