Fiber Broadband Association CEO says ‘no one too expensive to reach’ with fiber

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A recent round of government grants revealed the startling costs associated with covering residents in the most remote parts of the US. But while $200,000 per passing might seem like an eye-popping figure, Fiber Broadband Association CEO Gary Bolton noted that the cost applies to only the most extreme deployments. And in any event, he added, the long-term economic and systemic benefits of bringing fiber to such locations outweigh the upfront costs. According to Bolton, the average cost for a Tier-1 operator to deploy fiber is between $600 to $1,500 per passing. For rural homes on larger lots of six to eight acres, the cost rises to between $2,000 and $4,000 per passing. Extremely rural homes, he continued, usually run anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 per passing. The infrastructure builds that the US Department of Agriculture's ReConnect program is fueling at tens of thousands of dollars per passing represent “the very edge, edge, edge cases,” Bolton said. Fixed wireless access (FWA) advocates have argued the technology can be deployed cheaper and faster to connect unserved parts of the country, but Bolton contended it’s not a long-term solution. He pointed to a study by CTC Technology and Energy (published by the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society in June 2022), which concluded the technology lacks the long-term scalability of fiber. 

FBA CEO says ‘no one too expensive to reach’ with fiber