Winners and Losers Emerge in Europe's Race to a Fiber Future

  • FTTH Council Europe
LONDON – European FTTH deployment continues to grow steadily, but the gap between the leaders and laggards is increasing, according to the latest figures from the FTTH Council Europe.

Russia Emerges as a Regional Leader
Russia has emerged as a clear fiber leader in the region. The country added 2.2 million new FTTH subscribers in the second half of 2012 – more than all of the 27 member states of the European Union combined – to reach a grand total of 7.5 million fiber-connected homes. This corresponds to a dramatic increase in FTTH subscribers of more than 42 percent.

EU27 Shows Subscribers Rates Growth of 15 Percent
Across the EU27 countries, the number of FTTH subscribers continued to grow at an accelerated rate of 15 percent in the second half of 2012. During this period, Europe added 820,000 subscribers in total, bringing the number of fiber-connected homes to 6.24 million. Scandinavia, Baltic countries and the Netherlands contributed 26 percent of these new subscribers, Eastern European economies 33 percent, and France and Portugal 30 percent.

The Five Dynamic Economies
The top five dynamic economies, where not only subscriber growth in the past year was high but also where new 2012 subscribers represented the highest proportion of total subscriber at end-2012 were Turkey, Ukraine, Spain, Bulgaria and Russia. In Turkey, subscribers more than doubled in the last year. Spain, new entrant in the FTTH ranking since June 2012, also confirmed its dynamism.

Lithuania Tops List for Household Penetration
In terms of household penetration, the dominant fiber nation remains Lithuania, which already has 100 percent coverage of FTTH and over 31 percent of homes connected to fibre. Sweden takes second place in the European FTTH Ranking, with 22.6 percent of homes having FTTH subscriptions. In the ranking, 10 nations can now claim more than 10 percent FTTH penetration, up from seven in June 2012. In order from the top they are Lithuania, Sweden, Bulgaria, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Denmark and Portugal.

Early Adopters Show Clear Edge
"Eastern Europe and Scandinavian countries have reinforced their position as fiber leaders, and 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 neighbors. Good communications infrastructure helps to retain existing businesses and attract new ones. Fibered-up nations can make a head start on deploying new services like remote health care and smart grid technologies. Countries that delay the roll out of FTTH are looking at a serious lost opportunity to prepare for their economic future."

Major Western European Economies Lag Behind
Many of the major Western economies are still dragging their feet over fiber. Italy and Spain remain at the bottom of the FTTH ranking, and once again, Germany and the UK failed to qualify. The number of fiber-connected homes in the UK stands at less than 0.1 percent.

The FTTH Market Panorama, which is updated twice a year by IDATE for the FTTH Council Europe, records the number of subscribers in each country across the continent of Europe, and ranks them according to the percentage of homes taking a direct fiber connection. The panorama includes both FTTH and fiber to the building or FTTB, an approach suited to apartment blocks where the building's existing cabling can be used to make the final connection to the customer.

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