(Editor’s note: The Broadband Report is a regular feature in WRAL TechWire.)

BOSTON, Mass. – Business fiber penetration of commercial buildings in the U.S. increased to 42.5 percent in 2014, according to latest research from Vertical Systems Group.

This compares to a penetration rate of only 10.9 percent in 2004.

These statistics measure fiber availability at company-owned and multi-tenant buildings with 20 or more employees, covering more than two million individual business establishments.

“Accessibility to fiber-based business services in the U.S. nearly quadrupled between 2004 and 2014, with hundreds of thousands of sites newly fiber-connected during this time period. As a result of this growth, our fiber penetration benchmark now exceeds 40 percent for the first time,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “Looking forward, the high stakes endgame for network operators is to deepen and broaden their service infrastructures around fiber – the future of wireline.”

In the U.S., fiber is used to deliver the majority of carrier ethernet service connections. Fiber implementations also are increasing for access to high-speed IP/MPLS VPN services, cloud and internet connectivity, and for mobile backhaul applications.

In response to Vertical’s recent worldwide survey of carrier ethernet service providers, fiber footprint reach was cited as the top competitive advantage overall. Fiber expansion was the primary growth challenge for 2015.

Comprehensive analysis of U.S. fiber penetration statistics is available now through the research track of Vertical Systems Group’s ENS (Emerging Networks Service). ENS covers enterprise customer migration across all broadband network services to provide defendable analysis compared to market forecasts.

Research content covers the period 2004 through 2014, and includes quantification by customer segment (Large Enterprise and SMB) and four building sizes (20-50 employees, 51-100 employees, 101-250 employees, more than 250 employees).

Vertical Systems Group is a market research and strategic consulting firm based in Boston that specializes in defensible quantification of the networking industry.