Ultra-fast Broadband Making Strides in World Market

  • FTTH Council Europe
STOCKHOLM - Ultra-fast broadband revenues will grow by 95 percent over the five next years to reach 182 billion EUR in 2017, according to the latest issue of IDATE's World FTTx database, which is part of its ongoing service covering the ultra-fast broadband market. It provides key data on this market across the globe, covering more than 70 countries and 150 key players, and providing forecasts up to 2017.

Valérie Chaillou, FTTx lead analyst at IDATE, notes, “growth perspectives remains still high when superfast technologies represent 22 percent of broadband access subscriptions at mid-2013, and we expect ultra-fast broadband revenues will grow by 95 percent over the 5 next years to reach 182 billion EUR in 2017.”

Eastern Europe will see its take-up rate increase from 28 percent to 49 percent in five years, much higher than in Western Europe during all the period, from 21 percent at end 2012 to 32 percent at end 2017.

FTTH/B is the leading ultra-fast broadband solution, far from FTTLA then VDSL: FTTH/B represents 66 percent of FTTx subscriptions at mid 2013, compared to 22 percent for FTTLA and 12 percent for FTTN+VDSL

But the regional breakdown is very heterogeneous:

  • FTTH/B is clearly the technology of choice in APAC, whereas

  • FTTLA is leading the ultra-fast broadband market in Western Europe and North America.

  • VDSL is a technology of choice for several European incumbents.

  • Latin America and Middle East countries are at the very beginning of their NGA rollouts: they will participate to the global growth of superfast broadband more and more in the coming years.

There are still questions from large players regarding the opportunity to deploy FTTH/B or VDSL, mainly in Europe.

  • Several parameters are to be taken into account among which, of course, the required investment. Nevertheless FTTH/B rollouts did progress in certain European countries which are encouraging at a time when EU Telcos are seeing their margins shrinking.

  • Some players are betting on the future capacities of copper-based networks.

FTTH Council Europe: Fiber Adoption in Europe Gathering Pace
Fiber-to-the-home or building (FTTH/B) adoption in Europe is gathering pace, with the total number of subscribers increasing by 29 percent in 2013 – substantially faster than the year before when growth was around 15 percent – according to the latest update to the European FTTH market panorama from the FTTH Council Europe.

  • In total, 13 countries in the EU have experienced growth greater than 30 percent in FTTH/B subscribers in the past year, including Spain (64 percent), the Netherlands (43 percent), France and Portugal (each 41 percent).

  • In absolute figures the leading nations in Europe’s EU28 are France and Sweden, which exceed 1.2 million FTTH/B subscribers each. Russia remains a heavyweight with nearly 9 million FTTH/B subscribers (of which 1.4 million were added in 2013), while the Ukraine has 1.3 million subscribers, and Turkey has 1.1 million.

  • Outside Europe, China and Japan are the unmatched world leaders, with 37 million and 24.7 million FTTH/B subscribers, respectively.

These numbers sound impressive, but there is still a long way to go. According to analyst firm Heavy Reading, a country only reaches the “fiber maturity” when 20 percent of its households are FTTH/B subscribers. So far only nine countries around the world have reached this threshold, and only three of them are European.

  • The United Arab Emirates leads the Global FTTH Ranking with an impressive 85 percent of homes subscribing to FTTH/B, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, with subscription rates ranging from 63 percent to 37 percent. The first European country, in seventh position in the global FTTH Ranking, is Lithuania, with 100 percent coverage and 34 percent penetration, followed by Sweden (26.5 percent) and Latvia (23.3 percent). All other European economies remain below the 20 percent threshold.

  • In 2013, the four countries that have benefited from the biggest roll outs are Spain with 2.4 million new homes passed, France with 710,000, Portugal and Sweden with 550,000 each. This shows that even countries deemed “mature” such as Sweden, still have room for growth.

  • Germany and the UK both have less than 1 percent penetration, and once again conspicuously failed to qualify for the FTTH Ranking.

Switzerland Enters the FTTH Ranking
Switzerland made its entrance into FTTH Ranking with 2 percent household penetration and 235 percent growth in subscribers over the 12 months to December 2013. Out of 73,816 Swiss subscribers, 70 percent were new subscribers in 2013, which is the highest rate in Europe. Turkey (46 percent), Spain (39 percent) and Poland (32 percent) follow with lower rates but much larger populations. To be included in the FTTH Ranking, a country must have more than 1 percent of households that subscribe to FTTH/B and more than 200,000 households.

“We need to do more and I can’t help but feel that some policy makers underestimate the danger of not getting to fiber to the home networks quickly enough,” said Karin Ahl, president of the FTTH Council Europe. “Within the next 30 years, 70 percent of the economy is likely to be driven by firms and products we know nothing about today.”

The higher growth rate of subscribers (29 percent) over that of homes passed (22 percent) is a good sign for operators, who all need to see a better return on their investment. It is also good news for end users, because a larger subscriber base will encourage more companies to develop services and applications, and help drive down consumer prices.


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