Latvia reaches pole position in European FTTH penetration

The number of fibre to the home (FTTH) and fibre to the building (FTTB) subscribers in Europe increased by 23% over the first nine months of 2016, reaching nearly 44.3 million FTTH/B subscribers. Homes passed increased by 17%, reaching more than 148 million in EU391 at end-September 2016, according to the latest update of the FTTH market panorama announced today at the FTTH Conference 2017 in Marseille.

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What is the outlook of the FTTH ranking and panorama?

At end-September 2016, there were more than 20.5 million FTTH/B subscribers in EU282, with a penetration rate of 9.4%, according to the latest update of the FTTH market panorama prepared by IDATE for the FTTH Council Europe. Looking at EU39, after Russia, which counts more than 17 million subscribers, the other largest markets in absolute figures remain, as per last year, Spain (reaching 4.5 million subscribers with 72% growth rate over nine months), France (3.2 million subscribers with 32% growth) and Romania (2.7 million subscribers with 17% growth).

Two new economies have now entered the FTTH Ranking3: Austria & Serbia, reaching 1% penetration. Austria is characterized by a smooth and constant very high capacity networks deployment. In terms of penetration, while Telekom Austria and Citycom/Graz are the leading players in the FTTH/B market, the high activity of local players and local initiatives accounted for almost 50% of the total FTTH/B subscribers.
In Serbia, while the market is still highly concentrated in cable solutions, FTTH is in a positive process to evolve. Telekom Srbija is the leading player in the FTTH/B market. Serbian regulator RATEL has launched in 2014 a National Broadband Plan in order to promote very high-capacity networks initiatives from the private sector.

In terms of penetration, Latvia has confirmed the impressive progress the country has undertaken since end-December 2014 and now holds the lead position in the European FTTH ranking, with a penetration rate of 45.2%. Latvia is followed by Sweden, which has also maintained a high FTTH growth rate in 2016 with a penetration rate of 40.7%, and Lithuania, which lost its number one position but still assures a very good position in the ranking, with a penetration rate of 40.3%, against 36.8% at end-September 2015. They are not the only countries racing forward. France, with its French Very High Speed Broadband Plan or "Plan France Très Haut Débit", seeks to bring very high-speed broadband service, mainly based on fibre infrastructure, to every home, business and government office by 2022. Local authorities are accelerating FTTH rollouts in rural and suburban areas, bridging the digital divide in the country. As a result, France's penetration rate gained almost three points, from 8.5% at end-September 2015 to 11.1% at end-September 2016, increasing by 32% its FTTH/B subscriber base's. Moving the scope to FTTH/B take-up (total subscribers over the total homes passed), the rate attains 28.8% in September 2016, showing that the more people are reached by fibre, the more they migrate to the future-proof technology.

"The latest European FTTH ranking proves what we have believed at the FTTH Council Europe for the past year: looking at countries such as France and Spain, and the overall FTTH growth rate in Europe, it is now clear that there is a stronger than ever momentum towards FTTH" commented Ronan Kelly, President of the FTTH Council Europe. "We are glad to witness such progress, including two new countries entering our FTTH ranking. We feel that Europe is now well positioned to stimulate even more FTTH rollout: the European Commission's recent Gigabit Society Communication sets a vision where widespread, very high capacity networks underpin the services to society that will keep Europe at the forefront of economic development. We at the FTTH Council Europe are very positive and very supportive of those efforts and hope to see their rapid adoption into law. Of course, there is still work to do, but we are moving in the right direction to make Europe a global digital leader!".

Incumbents play an important role in some European countries, accounting for 43% of homes passed in EU39 at end-September 2015, compared to 21% at end 2011, and Serbia is a good example which just entered the ranking. It is also important to note and welcome the fact that countries such as Belgium and Italy are now evolving in a more fibre-friendly environment and as such moving towards FTTH/B technologies. In Ireland, the Government's National Broadband Plan changed its network specification to require FTTH-based infrastructure. The UK government has now allocated a fund specifically dedicated to FTTH deployment. Many more similar initiatives are expected in the coming months. Nearly all players, even those that are less involved in FTTH/B, now consider that FTTH is the end game.

Who are the champions of the FTTH Award 2017?

The FTTH Council Europe also announced today that Deutsche Glasfaser received this year's FTTH Operator Award, while Luis Alveirinho received the Individual Award, for their outstanding efforts to accelerate the adoption of FTTH in Europe. For more information, visit the news section of the website here


What are the highlights of the FTTH Conference 2017?

The FTTH Conference remains the largest fibre-related event in the world, attracting roughly 3,000 participants from 94 countries. This year, 120 exhibitors and partners are hosting the event, which includes over 100 high-level presentations and cases studies from distinguished speakers. The focus topics at the heart of this 14th edition of the FTTH Conference are inspired by the new Gigabit connectivity targets and the legislative proposal for a new European telecoms rulebook by the European Commission, as well as the transformational role of new services and technologies enabled by very high capacity networks to enhance our lives.
After the opening ceremony4 this morning, Antoine Darodes, Director of the French Digital Agency, and Anthony Whelan, Director for Electronic Communications Networks & Services at the European Commission, shared their vision in inspiring keynote speeches. The FTTH Conference also featured a high level discussion on achieving the new Gigabit ambition with Philippe Distler, Board Member at ARCEP, Wilhelm Eschweiler, Vice President at Bundesnetzagentur & BEREC Chair 2016, and Steve Unger, CTO at Ofcom & Vice-President of BEREC 2017. While lively workshops were held on 14 February and conference sessions on 15 February, there are still more compelling discussions to come! More information on the programme is available here

Save the date:
The 15th edition of the FTTH Conference will be held from 13 to 15 February 2018 in Valencia, Spain.
4 Speeches of the FTTH Conference ceremony are available in the media downloads of the website here, and videos on our Youtube channel here


Notes for editors:
The FTTH definitions can be downloaded from:
Available downloads (FTTH Global and European Ranking graphs, photos of the event, FTTH Award winners and more):

About the FTTH Council Europe:
The FTTH Council Europe is a non-profit organisation with a mission to accelerate ubiquitous, fibre-based connectivity for a competitive Gigabit Society. Fibre-based infrastructure is the only future-proof foundation enabling fixed and wireless Giga-networks and a plethora of new, innovative technologies and services, and is the prerequisite for Europe's global digital competitiveness and sustainability. Our vision is that fibre connectivity will transform and enhance the way we live, do business and interact, connecting everyone and everything, everywhere.

Media Contact: Jean-Michaël MASSENYA, +33 (0) 6 25 90 28 60,