NTCA: Rural Telecom Providers See 72% Take Rates on Broadband

Rural telecommunications providers continue to see gains in broadband availability, average broadband speeds and take rates, according to a survey of rural telecommunications members of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association.

The vast majority of the nation’s small rural telecommunications companies are NTCA members, and 27% of those members participated in the survey conducted in late 2013. Nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of respondents’ customers can receive broadband at speeds exceeding 10 Mbps, indicating that providers have made substantial progress in installing fiber to the home or to a neighborhood node to improve on the relatively slower rates that can be delivered over copper loops connecting the central office to the customer.

Currently only about 8.5% of customers subscribe to service at rates above 10 Mbps, and the most popular category -- chosen by 34% of subscribers -- is between 3 and 4 Mbps. But as the NTCA notes in the report, “This gap should shrink as customers begin to realize all that can be accomplished online, and as new applications are developed which will require increased bandwidth.”

One of the more impressive data points from NTCA’s survey is that respondents are seeing average broadband take rates of 72%, up from 69% in a similar survey conducted in 2013. Whenever one of the publicly held regional or Tier 2 telecommunications companies sees broadband take rates above 40% or so, some industry observers generally begin to question the remaining upside potential. But such concerns don’t seem to be merited yet in the rural telecom market, despite the high take rates.


NTCA: Rural Telecom Providers See 72% Take Rates on Broadband