Fiber Broadband Association Releases 2023 Fiber Deployment Cost Study Results

Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) unveiled the findings of its highly anticipated 2023 Fiber Deployment Cost Study, conducted in collaboration with Cartesian.
Fiber Broadband AssociationThis study serves as the industry’s definitive benchmark, enabling fiber broadband service providers to assess their cost profiles and pinpoint areas of inefficiency in deployment.

FBA will host a webinar on Wednesday, January 24, at 11:00 am EST to present more findings of the Fiber Deployment Study. You can register here to attend the webinar.

The study, which delves into the intricacies of fiber deployment costs, revealed that labor constitutes a substantial portion of expenses, contributing to 73 percent of underground build costs and 67 percent of aerial costs on average. In addition to these insights, the FBA’s study offers regional cost variations and explores the cost differentials between various deployment methods.

“As broadband providers nationwide seek to utilize public and private funding to connect communities to high-quality broadband services, comprehending the cost variables of deployment remains a vital component to broadband plans and proposals,” Deborah Kish, Vice President of Research and Workforce Development at the Fiber Broadband Association, said.

The 2023 Fiber Deployment Study drew participation from a diverse array of respondents across the United States, representing the entire fiber deployment ecosystem, including network operators, municipal broadband providers, utility/electric cooperatives, prime contractors, and subcontractors. The study explored various factors influencing costs, such as labor, materials, build scenarios, and construction methods, making it challenging to compare costs across different deployments.

While each deployment project displayed unique characteristics, the study identified common themes that will be discussed in an upcoming webinar scheduled for Wednesday, January 24. These key themes include the dominance of labor costs, with labor accounting for over two-thirds of build costs, the lower initial cost per foot for aerial deployment compared to underground, and notable influencers like population density, terrain, and region.

Looking ahead to 2024, survey respondents anticipated an overall increase in deployment costs, but several categories were expected to show improvement. In 2023, 76 percent of respondents noted increases in material costs, whereas only 58 percent expected a similar trend in 2024. Additionally, a majority of respondents anticipated decreases in engineering and permit costs in the coming year, pointing towards a shifting landscape in the fiber broadband deployment realm.