Pace of FTTH Rollouts Accelerating in France

PARIS — New finding from ARCEP confirm that the pace of FTTH rollouts is accelerating in France. This comes from ARCEP's newly released electronic communications market indicators for the fixed broadband and superfast broadband market (services, rollouts and subscriptions) in France in the fourth quarter of 2015

At the end of December 2015, there were 4.3 million superfast broadband subscriptions in use (+44 percent in a year) of which 1.4 million to a fully fiber system (FTTH), which is 53 percent higher than the year before.

  • In Q4 2015, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or higher than 30 Mbps) increased by 385,000 to reach 4.3 million, which means 1.3 million additional subscriptions since the start of the year. Of this total, the number of subscriptions to a superfast broadband access plan with a connection speed of 100 Mbps or more increased by close to 240,000 during the quarter, including an additional 170,000 subscriptions to fully optical fiber connections, for a total 1.425 million FTTH subscriptions at the end of December 2015. The pace at which FTTH subscriber numbers are growing accelerated over the course of the year: +500,000 in 2015 versus +375,000 in 2014. The number of subscriptions to plans with a connection speed of between 30 and 100 Mbps increased by 145,000 over the previous quarter to reach 1.640 million (+44 percent on the year). These include VDSL2 plans, all of which deliver speeds equal to or above 30 Mbps.

  • The number of broadband subscriptions – i.e., to a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbps – stood at 22.6 million at the end of the quarter, which is down by 95,000 compared to Q3 2015 and by 400,000 over the year before, due a decrease in xDSL broadband subscriptions. These customers account for 85 percent of all broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions.

  • In total, the number of fixed broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in France stood at 26.9 million at the end of Q4 2015, which marks an increase of 290,000 over the previous quarter and of 990,000 for the year (+3.4 percent).


At the end of December 2015, 14.5 million households (+9 percent on the year) were eligible for a superfast broadband service, of which 5.6 million via FTTH (+38 percent in a year).

  • Operators have made substantial investments over the past several years, which have enabled them to deliver a wide range of access products over a growing portion of the country. As a result, by the end of Q4 2015, alternative operators had unbundled 9,526 exchanges on the copper local loop, or 800 more than the year before, and now serve 91.7 percent of all existing lines (+0.3 points in a year). Of this total number of lines eligible for LLU, 12.4 million have been unbundled, which is 84,000 more than at the same time the year before. This means that alternative operators have bought more than 13.6 million wholesale connections from Orange, via LLU and bitstream.

  • Upgrades to the country’s coaxial cable networks are also ongoing. As a result, by the end of Q4 2015, around 8.8 million homes had been equipped for FTTLA and HFC access – i.e. optical fiber to the last amplifier and coaxial cable in the last meters, delivering speeds equal to or above 30 Mbps. Seven million of these connections are capable of supplying a bandwidth of 100 Mbps or more, which is up by 16 percent compared to Q4 2014. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3.8 million of the homes passed are located outside of very high-density areas.

  • Operators are accelerating the pace of their FTTH rollouts. As of December 31, 2015, 5.6 million homes were eligible to subscribe to an FTTH plan, or 38 percent more than the year before. The quarter was marked by a record rate of FTTH deployment, with coverage being delivered to an additional 583,000 households, which translates into a 12 percent increase over Q3 2015. The last quarterly record was in Q4 2014, during which an additional 424,000 homes were passed for fiber access, which also marked a 12 percent increase over the previous quarter. Of these 5.6 million homes, 2.2 million are located outside very high-density areas, and 881,000 are being served by public-initiative networks (PIN). Growth for PIN coverage was especially strong this quarter (+17 percent). Also noteworthy is that FTTH rollouts outside very high-density areas (+367,000) were more substantial than in very high density areas (+217,000). Lastly, around 3.5 million households – or around 62 percent of all those eligible to subscribe to an FTTH plan – have a choice between at least two superfast fiber broadband access providers (+35 percent on the year), thanks to network sharing schemes introduced by national regulation.

  • ARCEP puts the number of lines capable of supplying superfast broadband access, i.e. speeds equal to or above 30 Mbps, at 5.3 million, or around 78,000 more lines than in the previous quarter. At the end of December 2015, around 11,500 exchanges were VDSL2-capable, which represents coverage of around 94.8 percent of all the lines in France.

  • In total, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015, 14.5 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast broadband access service, including 9 million households (62 percent) located outside very high-density areas.

  • An open data file is available on the ARCEP website, which makes it possible to track the indicators published as part of this observatory over time.


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