The FTTH Council Europe's latest annual ranking of European countries with a household penetration of more than 1% has swelled to 29 with the addition of Germany, Poland and Croatia. The figures were presented to journalists at the start its flagship conference held this year in Luxembourg.
The deployment of FTTH in these countries was led by initiatives by both private operators and policy makers, Edgar Aker, president of the FTTH Council Europe explained. In Germany fibre projects led by municipalities and private players or 'alternative operators', had a great impact on fibre rollout in the country.
Alternative operators were key players in fibre projects in 2015, representing 42% of total companies and entities involved in FTTH/B projects and 51% of the number of homes passed, said Aker. The rollout and adoption of FTTH/B in those countries is expected to continue to grow at a steady pace in the coming years.
The number of FTTH and FTTB subscribers in Europe increased by 19% over the first nine months of 2015, reaching more than 35.9 million FTTH/B subscribers. Homes passed increased by 17%, with nearly 127 million FTTH/B homes passed in EU39 ¹ at end-September 2015, according to the latest update.
At end-September 2015, there were more than 17.9 million FTTH/B subscribers on the European continent ², excluding CIS countries (namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine). After Russia, which counts more than 15 million subscribers, the other largest markets in absolute figures are Spain (reaching 2.6 million subscribers with 65% growth rate over nine months), France (2.4 million subscribers with 31% growth) and Romania (2.3 million subscribers).
In terms of penetration, while Lithuania is still number one in the ranking with a penetration rate of 36.8%, Latvia (36.2%) and Sweden (35.2%) have made impressive progress. Both countries are now nearing lead position after greatly increasing their penetration rate since end-December 2014.
They are not the only countries racing forward. Luxembourg's penetration rate gained almost three points from 11.2% at end-December 2014 to 14.1% at end-September 2015. The high-level engagement and support of politicians, along with the involvement of incumbent operator POST and other stakeholders, explain the significant penetration of fibre in the country.
"The year 2015 has seen continued structural growth in fibre rollout throughout Europe, confirming the trend already observed in 2014." said Edgar Aker, President of the FTTH Council Europe.
There are however a number of European countries that are still holding back on their fibre deployments. Countries such as Austria, Ireland and Belgium connected less than 4,000 new FTTH/B customers during the first nine months of 2015. Even though the UK connected 26,000 more FTTH/B subscribers, the country is still lagging behind and has yet to reach the qualifying 1% threshold for the FTTH ranking.
¹ The EU 39 includes Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, 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 United Kingdom.
² The European FTTH ranking includes all countries of more than 200,000 households, where the ratio of FTTH/B subscribers is at least 1% of the total number of households.
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