Small and medium-sized telephone companies that have upgraded their networks to all-fiber are reporting operational cost savings averaging 20 percent annually, according to a study commissioned by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas (FTTH Council).

Service providers reported operational expenditure (opex) savings ranging from the single digits to greater than 30 percent.

The biggest savings, the survey respondents said, were in diminished allocations for maintenance and repair.

The survey also documented the increase in FTTH deployment, with the number of North American homes that can access FTTH networks increasing by 17.6 percent over a year ago to 22.7 million as of March. The number of households actually connected with FTTH was 9.7 million, an increase of more than 20 percent in the past year, since April 2012.

Verizon in the U.S. and Bell Aliant in Canada together accounted for a clear majority of those homes passed and connections. Nonetheless, there are nearly 600 small and medium-sized telephone companies that have upgraded at least part of their subscriber base to all-fiber, as well nearly 100 municipalities that have deployed FTTH networks as a public utility, the FTTH Council reported. The survey had input from more than 350 organizations.

"This latest survey shows not only the continued build-out of high-bandwidth fiber to the home networks in North America, but also provides one reason why hundreds of small and medium sized telcos have been upgrading to fiber - it saves them real money in the long run," said Heather Burnett Gold, the FTTH Council's President.

The survey revealed that there are more than 640,000 North American households now receiving 100 megabit per second (mbps) service through an FTTH network, and many of them receiving that level of connectivity for both downloading and uploading.

A number of FTTH providers are now offering gigabit connectivity to homes, notably Google Fiber in Kansas City and EPB Chattanooga in Tennessee.

FTTH Council opex savings