U.S. Broadband Capex Swelled to Record $86 Billion in 2021

fiber optics
(Image credit: Carlos. E. Serrano/Getty Images)

U.S. broadband providers wracked up collective capex of at least $86 billion in 2021, their biggest capital expenditure total ever, according to trade group USTelecom. 

The capex total represented an 8.3% increase over 2020. It was also $5.2 billion more than what was spent during the previous record year of 2019. 

"Yet even at this elevated level, the 2021 capex investment total is not surprising for two reasons. First, broadband deployment generally -- and fiber deployment specifically-- has been proceeding at unprecedented levels," wrote USTelecom President and CEO Jonathan Spalter in an org blog posting. "Analysts show that a selection of companies have announced that they will bringing fiber to 50 million additional households in the coming years.

"Second," Spalter added, "the 2021 investment total builds on a longstanding trend of continual communications network investment. In fact, since 1996, private U.S. communications providers have invested approximately $2 TRILLION ($2,000,000,000,000) building out America’s world-leading communications infrastructure. This amount is 67% higher than the funding for the entire Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was designed to reinvigorate all of America’s infrastructure."

We're going to hazard a guess here and suggest that record network usage during the quarantine portion of the pandemic also had an influence on spending. 

(Image credit: U.S. Telecom)

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!