US fixed wireless access subscriptions will capture 9% of broadband accounts by 2026 driven by user demand and government intervention, says GlobalData

Subscriptions for fixed wireless internet are gaining momentum in the United States, driven by a perfect storm of enabling factors. Chief among these is user demand and government efforts to see that this demand is satisfied, heightened data performance with 5G technologies, user friendliness from new technological approaches, and a desire by mobile operators to drive new revenues from fixed broadband services says GlobalData, the leading data and analytics company.

In its latest North America Fixed Communications Forecast Pack, GlobalData forecasts that 2022 will witness more than 1.95 million US residential and business subscriptions for fixed wireless internet, also called fixed wireless access (FWA). Looking ahead, GlobalData forecasts that subscription rolls will skyrocket to 10.43 million in 2026, representing nearly 9% of total US broadband access lines.*

Tammy Parker, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments: “Regardless of how it is branded, FWA is answering growing residential and business demand for internet connectivity, with wireless networks often delivering broadband service in areas where other options may be scarce, as a complement to existing wired broadband service – such as when a remote worker requires a separate connection from the family’s main internet service – or as a broadband solution for short-term needs.”

The pace of FWA deployments will be aided by the unprecedented influx of government funding in support of broadband availability and affordability that has occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic caused work and school activities to go remote.

Parker adds: “With those factors as a backdrop, 5G-enabled FWA has arrived at an opportune time, providing greater spectral efficiency and delivering faster data speeds than earlier technologies. Additionally, new plug-and-play 5G routers are making it super easy for customers to self-install FWA on the fly without having to wait for a truck roll and a technician.

“FWA may be one of the killer apps for 5G, not only on its own merits but because it can also be bundled with mobile service, helping operators boost their brand affinity and customer retention. Nonetheless, there are potential hurdles for FWA expansion. These include wireless network capacity restraints and the relatively low average revenue per account (ARPA) of FWA that does not reflect the demands it puts on the network. Service providers are not guaranteed to meet their ambitious FWA subscriber goals.”

* GlobalData’s forecasts include FWA subscriptions serving fixed devices within the customer’s premises or a narrow, restrained zone. Services allowing restrained mobility within a neighborhood or a town are considered mobile for the purposes of GlobalData’s forecasts.

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