FTTH/B subscribers increase by 21% in Europe

18 March 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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The number of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-business (FTTB) subscribers in Europe has increased by 15.7%, according to figures from the FTTH Market Panorama by IDATE.

The latest figures were revealed during the FTTH Conference 2019 and showed that more than 59.6 million FTTH/B subscribers were accounted for in 2018.

Other findings showed that although Russia leads in terms of number of FTTH/B subscribers in Europe, it has experienced a lower growth rate compared to other EU countries, which are catching up with 21% growth.

Spain ranked top for the most new subscribers adding 1.858.743 new users. France came second adding 1.480.220 new FTTH/B subscriptions, while Russia came in third seeing its FTTH/B subscriber base increase by 1.256.000 new FTTH/B customers. Closely following these three were Czechia with 523.950 new subscribers and Italy with 449.637 new subscribers. Italy in particular has seen significant growth in the number of homes passed increasing from 4.398.435 in September 2017 to 6.295.000 in September 2018, totalling increase of 43.12%.

“These new figures show a momentum that is accelerating over the last few years,” said Ronan Kelly, president of the FTTH Council. “Full fibre is the way forward and the results of the Market Panorama provide compelling evidence of this. Fibre expansion is booming in many countries and today more consumers are aware of the benefits of fibre. Our job is not done, however, there is still a long way to go until every citizen and business has access to the benefits of full fibre in Europe.”

For the year, coverage of FTTH/B topped 46.4% in the EU39 and 36.4% in the EU28 compared to September 2015 when estimated coverage in the region was 39% in EU39 and 27.2% in the EU28. The EU39 comprises of Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK. Whereas the EU28 consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

“We believe that the European Electronic Communications Code, which was recently adopted will boost even more the number of homes passed – if correctly implemented - by providing regulatory certainty and incentives to investors of all types and allowing for more actors to join the fibre league,” added Erzsébet Fitori, director general of the FTTH Council Europe.

This is the first year that the UK enters the global ranking, reaching a penetration of 1.3% and a take-up rate of 13.1%. Additionally, its FTTH/B subscriptions increased by 83% in 2018 compared to September 2017 totalling 369,250 in subscribers, while its FTTH/B homes surpassed 22.8% meaning that its 2,817,000 homes in total.

Looking ahead the report made several predictions. The first being that Russia is expected to continue leading the ranking for FTTH/B in 2020 and 2025. Interestingly the UK is predicted to become 2nd in the ranking by 2025, beating out France and Spain. For the region it forecasts that 187 million homes will be passed for FTTH in 2025 in EU28.