European fibre subscribers up 16% in year to September, number to more than double by 2025

Thursday 14 March 2019 | 10:49 CET | News

The number of FTTH/FTTB subscribers in Europe rose by 15.7 percent in the year to September 2018 to over 59.6 million, according to the latest figures from Idate for the FTTH Council Europe. At its annual conference in Amsterdam, the council said the number is expected to grow to 168 million in 2025. 

The study estimates that around 160 million homes were passed by fibre in 2018 in the 39 countries surveyed. This should grow to 263 million by 2025. In the EU28 alone, 36.4 percent of homes had access to FTTH/B last year, and around 30 million subscribed to the services. 

In the past year, Spain showed the strongest growth in FTTH/B subscribers, adding 1.86 million, followed by France with 1.48 million and Russia with 1.26 million new subscribers. Other countries with notable increases included Czechia with 523,950 new subscribers and Italy with 449,637. Italy also saw strong growth in the number of homes passed, going from 4.4 million in September 2017 to 6.3 million a year later. 

Over 38% take-up on EU networks

In terms of penetration, the take-up rate rose to 37.4 percent in the EU39 in 2018 from 34.8 percent a year earlier, and was an even higher 38.2 percent in the EU28. Andorra, Belarus, Belgium, Latvia, the Netherlands and Romania experienced take-up rates of over 50 percent of homes passed, the report said. 

The study found a slight preference for FTTH over FTTB in the market, and this is expected to continue in the coming years, with a growing shift to PON over Ethernet. Much of the expansion is being led by alternative operators. In addition, governments and local authorities are getting more involved in fibre projects, either directly, by signing agreements with telecom players, or via public funds. A few incumbent operators are also starting to shift away from copper upgrades to focus more on fibre, such as TIM and BT, to face off competition from alternative operators. 

In terms of household penetration, the Baltics continue to lead the market, while Spain and Sweden have also reached 44 percent of homes subscribed to fibre. Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, Russia, Portugal and Norway are all at over 30 percent. Idate predicts that some of the current laggards could see strong progress in the coming years, based on current roll-out plans. For example, the UK is expected to go from just 1.5 percent household penetration in 2018 to nearly 72 percent in 2025, the Netherlands from 20 percent to 70 percent, France from 19.4 percent to 62.6 and Italy from 4 percent to over a third of homes with fibre in 2025. 

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Categories: Fixed
Countries: Europe
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