FTTH Makes Slow Progress Across Europe

  • FTTH Council Europe
BRUSSELS - The latest FTTH panorama update, prepared for the FTTH Council Europe by IDATE, shows an accelerated but insufficient 16 percent subscriber increase in Europe for the first half of 2012. The update ranks the 22 FTTH economies where more than 1 percent of the households are FTTH/B subscribers.

Europe (EU27+9) reported a solid 16.4 percent increase in the number of FTTH/B subscribers during the first half of 2012, and FTTH/B coverage across Europe continued to grow rapidly (16 percent). By mid-2012, EU27+9 had some 5.95 million FTTH/B subscribers and 32 million homes passed.

Furthermore, Russia offers huge market potential, with 5.2 million FTTH/B subscribers and 15.8 million homes passed. Ukraine has over a million FTTH/B subscribers - an increase of more than 85 percent during the first semester of 2012. New players are expected to deploy FTTH/B in CIS countries soon.

In the ranking, the top three remain unaltered:
1. Lithuania (30 percent penetration)
2. Norway (18 percent)
3. Sweden (14.5 percent)

Large EU Economies Lag
However, some large EU economies, including the UK and Germany, are still conspicuously absent. "Key countries absent from the ranking may miss out on their chance to build a sustainable future for their citizens," states Hartwig Tauber, director general of FTTH Council Europe. "Additional efforts are required to ensure Europe reaches the Digital Agenda 2020 broadband targets. The decision to invest in FTTH - the only future-proof solution - needs to be made today."

Spain entered the ranking at 20th position (1.42 percent penetration), following a 44 percent subscriber increase in first half of 2012. Despite the country's challenging economic situation, operator announcements (from Telefonica and Orange Spain, amongst others) suggest fiber is still considered a solid investment. FTTH from Telefonica and competition from cable operator Ono have clearly enhanced the Spanish market. Uniquely for southern Europe, Asturias' local government adopted a type of open access network usually found in Scandinavia, rolling out FTTH early on, instead of waiting for private investors.

Luxembourg (1.46 percent subscriber penetration) is another new entry. State-owned P&T Luxembourg appears set to realize ambitious government objectives: to pass 80 percent of all households with 100 Mbps by the end of 2013 and 100 percent at the end of 2015. Other FTTH players use P&T's infrastructure on a wholesale basis.

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