The total number of homes passed with fibre to the home (FTTH) and fibre to the building (FTTB) in Europe reached nearly 182.6 million in September 2020, compared with 172 million in September 2019, according to the FTTH Council Europe.
The FTTH Council Europe believes that the report confirms that fibre roll-outs are taking place at an increasingly faster pace in Europe, and the EU is making a very significant – though uneven – progress in meeting its connectivity targets. Three European economies that have recently intensified their fibre rollout – Germany, Italy, and the UK – still account for almost 60% of the entire remaining homes to be passed in the EU27+UK region.
Indeed, the 2021 Market Panorama report reveals that the main movers in terms of homes passed in absolute numbers are France (+4.6 million), Italy (+2.8 million), Germany (+2.7 million) and the UK (+1.7 million). The top five of annual growth rates in terms of homes passed is headed by Belgium (+155%), Serbia (+110%), Germany (+66%), the UK (+65%) and Ireland (+49%).
The number of FTTH and FTTB subscribers in Europe increased by 16.6% in EU39 in the year since September 2019 with 81.9 million FTTH/B subscribers in September 2020. Russia still plays a major role in this increase, however the EU27+UK experienced a 20.4% increase on its own. The ongoing pandemic, in particular, has demonstrated the necessity of both FTTH deployments and adoption.
France added the most subscribers with 2.7 million; followed by Russia with 1.7 million new subscribers, and Spain with 1.4 million.
The report notes that many countries where legacy infrastructure still dominates have modified their strategy, deploying more FTTH solutions, migrating from existing copper-based and cable-based networks towards fibre and are intensifying copper switch-off. Three historically copper-strong countries (the UK, Germany and Italy) are accounting for almost 60% of homes left to be passed with fibre in the EU27+UK region. Just this week, BT Openreach announced a further 77 exchange locations where it plans to stop selling copper-based services in a year's time.
“The telecoms sector can play a critical role in Europe’s ability to meet its sustainability commitments by reshaping how Europeans work, live and do business. As the most sustainable telecommunication infrastructure technology, full-fibre is a prerequisite to achieve the European Green Deal and make the European Union’s economy more sustainable," commented Vincent Garnier, director general of the FTTH Council Europe. "Competitive investments in this technology should, therefore, remain a high political priority and we look forward to working with the EU institutions, national governments and NRAs towards removing barriers in a way to full-fibre Europe.”