Europe closes fibre gap

The huge gulf in fibre access network deployment that exists between Europe and Asia’s leading economies has narrowed slightly.

The second half of 2010 saw accelerated growth in fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) projects across Europe, with results showing improvements both in terms of buildings passed and subscribers connected, says the FTTH Council Europe. Figures from the council show there are now nearly 3.9 million FTTH subscribers in Europe, rising to 8.1 million if Russia is included, an increase of 18% in just six months.

The data, collected by research firm IDATE, showed that the top five places in the council’s European ranking of leading FTTH economies remain unchanged. Lithuania retains the top spot, in terms of percentage of population using FTTH, followed by Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The biggest surprise of the council’s global ranking was the emergence from nowhere of the UAE into fourth spot, behind leaders South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

“Fibre-to-the-home is becoming a truly international phenomenon,” said Chris Holden, president of the FTTH Council Europe. “It is becoming obvious though that major economies need to speed up or risk getting left behind.”

Deutsche Telekom has said it will deploy FTTH connections in up to 160,000 households across 10 cities during 2011. The company said it will need to partner with rival operators as well as utility companies if it is to meet this target.

And France Telecom Orange, as part of its Conquests 2015 initiative to drive new global revenue and improve services in its home market, has committed to reach 60% of French households with FTTH by 2020. The company said it will work with “interested network operators” by offering access solutions to competitors as outlined by national regulator Arcep. “This commitment clearly illustrates the new dynamic that France Telecom Orange has embarked upon since the launch of Conquests 2015,” said CEO Stephane Richard.

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