Amazon's future on fibre

Why Amazon’s future depends on fibre

The biggest urban development opportunity of the century is currently on the table, and it hinges on the availability of fiber optic internet.

Amazon put out a request for proposals (RFP) for cities interested in becoming the site of the second Amazon headquarters that the company is calling HQ2. As of Monday, October 23rd, it has received 232 submissions – including Calgary’s.

Amazon HQ2 promises 50,000 tech jobs in the city that wins the proposal.  According to an article by the Fiber Broadband Association in the U.S., this is evidence that fibre is vital to development projects of all types, and for good reason:

“Fibre is future-proof, fast, and simple. It attracts residents, increases property values, does not need to be replaced often, and is cheaper and easier to deploy than alternative technologies.”

Homeowners and renters prioritize fibre just as much as businesses do. An RVA LLC study quoted by the Fiber Broadband Association indicates that high-speed internet availability factors into 88% of home buyers’ location choices, and is an element in 91% of decisions about which community to reside in.

And a survey of 120,000 apartment renters conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council revealed that high-speed internet is more important than soundproof walls or en-suite washer and dryer. Renters are willing to pay 8% higher rent, and buyers are willing to pay a 2.8% higher purchase price for a suite with fibre internet.

This is good news for anyone developing property in Alberta, since fibre deployment is affordable throughout the province. With 16,000 km of fibre available across the province, deployment of fibre to the premises (FTTP) is attainable for most communities.

Cactus or infrastructure? 

Cities all across North America are trying to win over Amazon with tax breaks and other creative proposals. An economic development group in Tucson, Arizona sent a giant cactus to Amazon, and Stonecrest Georgia has offered to change the name of the city to Amazon.

But it’s the infrastructure that will win the bid. The Amazon RFP states that “optimal fibre connectivity is paramount at our HQ2 location.” FTTP is the only service that fits the bill.

“A facility such as the $5 billion high-tech development that Amazon promises to build would require multiple 100 Gbps connections to be fully functional. This sort of bandwidth is possible only with a pure fibre network,” says Robert Price, vice-president of services at Axia FibreNet.

That connectivity is a good idea for any region since fibre deployment has been correlated with an increased gross metropolitan product (GMP). The RVA LLC study found that metropolitan regions with more than 60% fibre to the home (FTTH) had 64% higher GMP than regions with less than 25% connectivity.

This, according to the Fiber Broadband Association, suggests that “a truly fibre-friendly city is also a more productive one.”

According to Jordan Allred, business development director at Axia FibreNet, this is no surprise, since fibre has significantly low latency compared to legacy networks. This is especially true for IoT. A recent study, described in Network Computing, indicated that a typical IoT device uses 2,500 transmissions per 1MB of data transferred.

Speed attracts talent

Fibre is not only critical to Amazon’s business activities, it is also going to attract the talent that Amazon wants to hire to the region. You can be certain that tech professionals demand fibre connectivity at home as well as at the office.

No matter which city Amazon chooses for HQ2, this RFP process is a clear signal that FTTP is crucial to the economic development of any region in North America.

It is interesting to note that fibre connectivity is the only technology requirement in the eight-page RFP. Fast reliable internet connects businesses to new markets. Optimal upload and download speeds drive the adoption of best-in-class technology, and scalable fibre networks provides the capacity for growth. Just ask Amazon.  

For more information on our fibre connectivity solutions, contact your Axia salesperson at or 1-866-773-3348.