2012 was a very important year for fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) adoption in Europe, according to IDATE, the analyst firm that compiles the FTTH Market Panorama for the FTTH Council Europe. About 35% of subscribers in the European region, including Russia and its neighbours, were new subscribers during the year. “Fibre to the home is starting to see real commercial success,” said Roland Montagne, director of the telecoms business unit at IDATE.
Although the number of European FTTH subscribers continues to grow, the gap between the leaders and laggards is increasing. Russia is upgrading its networks at a rapid pace. The country added 2.2 million new FTTH subscribers in the second half of 2012 – more than all of Europe’s 27 Member States (the EU27) combined – to reach a grand total of 7.5 million fibre-connected homes.
During this same period, the EU27 added 820,000 subscribers in total, bringing the number of fibre-connected homes to 6.24 million. Scandinavia, Baltic countries and the Netherlands contributed 26% of these new subscribers, Eastern European economies 33%, and France and Portugal 30%. In terms of household penetration, the dominant fibre nation remains Lithuania, which already has 100% coverage of FTTH and 31% of homes connected to fibre.
At the other end of the scale, Germany and the UK have yet to break the 1 percent threshold to quality for inclusion in the FTTH Ranking. In the UK only 0.06 percent of households subscribe to a direct fibre connection.
“The disparity between the early and late adopters is becoming even more apparent,” said Karin Ahl, president of the FTTH Council Europe. “These FTTH leaders are gaining an economic advantage over their less well-connected neighbours. Good communications infrastructure helps to retain existing businesses and attract new ones. Fibred-up nations can make a head start on deploying new services like remote health care and smart grid technologies.”
Five years is not very long when it comes to deploying optical fibre, so those countries that are behind today are likely to remain behind. “Countries that delay the roll out of FTTH are looking at a serious lost opportunity to prepare for their economic future,” Ahl claims.
By Pauline Rigby
Press release: Winners and losers emerge in Europe’s race to a fibre future