BBWF 2012 – Amsterdam. Both Germany and the UK are lagging behind in the deployment of fibre-to-the-home services, according to research by Idate. Both countries show less than 1% penetration.
The latest so-called ‘FTTH panorama update’ at end-June 2012 was unveiled at a press conference held at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam. The update, prepared for the FTTH Council Europe by Idate, ranks the 22 FTTH economies where more than 1% of the households are FTTH/B subscribers.
Europe (EU27+9) reported a solid 16.4% 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%). 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% 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. Leader Lithuania has reached over 30% penetration, followed by Norway (18%) and Sweden (14.5%). Spain entered the ranking at 20th position (1.42% penetration), following a 44% subscriber increase in the first half of 2012.
Despite the country’s challenging economic situation, operator announcements (from Telefonica and Orange Spain, amongst others) suggest fibre 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% subscriber penetration) is another new entry. State-owned P&T Luxembourg appears set to realise ambitious government objectives: 80% of all households passed with 100Mbps by end 2013, and 100% at end 2015. Other FTTH players use P&T’s infrastructure on a wholesale basis.
However, some large EU economies, including the UK and Germany, remain conspicuously absent from the FTTH ranking.
The UK has the lowest FTTH subscriber penetration rate of EU27+9, with only 0.05% of households connected. Despite the fact that the government has announced plans to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, the UK is clearly lagging and has no large scale FTTH deployment plans.
“It seems the Broadband Delivery (BDUK) Project has missed the opportunity to bring the country real broadband. Community-driven projects demonstrate a real demand for FTTH, but are reliant on the incumbent,” according to the FTTH Europe Council.
“After having announced a very ambitious FTTH coverage objective in 2011 – 2.5 million homes passed at end 2012 – BT has changed its FTTH strategy once again. The UK incumbent has now decided to mostly upgrade its existing copper network to offer FTTC.”
“Key countries absent from the ranking may miss out on their chance to build a sustainable future for their citizens”, states Hartwig Tauber, DG 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.”