Rapid TV News - FTTH 2018: European fibre shows 20% annual subs growth
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FTTH18 15Feb2018In great news for the region's development of high-quality broadcast applications over IPTV networks, research from IDATE for the FTTH Council Europe has revealed substantial yearly growth in both fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) subscribers in Europe.

The FTTH Market Panorama study showed that the number of FTTH and FTTB subscribers in Europe has increased by 20.4% since September 2016, with more than 51.6 million FTTH/B subscribers by the end of September 2017 across 39 leading European countries. The take-up rate also soared to 34.8% for EU39 countries from 29.9% the previous year.

Russia was the regional fibre hotspot adding 1.826 million new FTTH/B new subscribers from September 2016 to September 2017, while Spain, boosted by the aggressive rollout plans by Telefónica as well as Orange and Vodafoneand Vodafone, carried on its recent strong momentum with 1.612 million new FTTH/B subscribers and 17.5 million homes passed by FTTH/B. Traditional fibre stronghold France added 1.067 million new subscribers.

IDATE also found that the number of homes passed in the EU39 countries increased dramatically to reach more than 148 million, representing a growth of 16% compared with September 2016. It also noted that take-up reached 32.4% in the 28 European Union countries.

One interesting new trend was that private players - such as former incumbents and alternative operators - are deploying more FTTx networks (56% of the total players) in comparison to other players such as public operators and power utilities. Another notable trend is the evolution of fibre technologies over the last year, which revealed a predominance of the FTTH architecture over FTTB, by a ratio of 55% against 45% by September 2017.

Significantly, IDATE found that there was a marked difference in the total of homes passed, which are counted once and independently from the number of operators which cover them, and the total of sockets deployed. This, it said, reflected the total effort made by players to deploy their own fibre networks and indicates that with more numerous players investing in their own infrastructure in the recent years, it is becoming more common that two or more players reach the same specific household. France and Spain were found to be leaders in this field.

Commenting on the study, from the association's yearly FTTH event this year in Valencia, Ronan Kelly, president of the FTTH Council said: "The findings of the Market Panorama are quite telling, we are now all looking towards the same goal of a fibre rich Gigabit society. We obviously commend the front-runners for their impressive and continuous progress towards FTTH/B but we are also very encouraged by the new trend of operators in countries which do not typically demonstrate a strong appetite for fibre, starting to get involved more intensively in FTTH/B projects. The structure of the market is also changing with the apparition of new types of stakeholders with innovative business models fostering infrastructure competition and making new investments."