The Fiber-optic Internet Transforms The Cable Industry

On-network connections also represent one of the fastest-growing business segments for Atlantic Broadband, the Quincy, Mass.-based cable company whose terrain includes urban and suburban locales in Connecticut and Florida, plus a range of smaller markets. John Romagnoli, who heads the company’s commercial product development group, knows why. An analysis he conducted in 2017 showed that in key markets, customers’ Internet access consumption grew 80% in a single year. A big driver is the transformation to digital record-keeping across a variety of vertical sectors including healthcare and education. “Every industry seems to be going through a complete digitization of their record-keeping,” Romagnoli says. “That opens up opportunity for more cloud-based service providers. And every time an app moves from the desktop to the cloud, the need for bandwidth rises.”

Closing the Fiber Gap

So does the cable industry’s presence in the fiber-for-business marketplace. Developments like Altice USA’s continued footprint-wide fiber expansion and the growth of Spectrum Enterprise’s fiber network underscore how the cable industry is helping to collapse the “fiber gap,” or the delta between the total number of mid-sized and larger business locations and the number of locations that can take advantage of on-network fiber connectivity. In 2004, 11 percent of U.S. commercial buildings with 20-plus employees were “fiber-lit,” according to telecommunications researcher Vertical Systems. As of 2016 nearly half of all U.S. buildings had achieved that designation.

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