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Europe hits one million FTTH broadband connections

But still lags US, Japan

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The number of countries with fibre to the home (FTTH) connections is continuing to expand, according to an updated global ranking issued by the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Councils of Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.

Last week, an Informa report said there were already one million FTTH broadband connections in Europe.

The new ranking was released at FTTH Council Europe's annual conference in Paris and lists 14 economies where more than one per cent of households are connected directly into high speed fibre optic networks.

At least 11 economies exceeded the one per cent threshold. Slovenia, Iceland, and Singapore were new entries on the list.

The US, which doubled its penetration rate to 2.3 per cent, moved up three places to eighth position. The People's Republic of China moved from tenth to eleventh place as direct fibre connections in that country moved up slightly to 1.5 per cent. The Netherlands, Italy, and Singapore had market penetration rates ranging from 1.1 to 1.4 per cent.

Joeri Van Bogaert, president of the FTTH Council Europe, stressed the "unrelenting vigor of the FTTH industry in Europe". But while there are now more than one million FTTH broadband connections in Europe, compared with the US and Japan, Europe still lags well behind. Japan alone has 11 million subscribers.

It is still municipalities and utilities that account for most of the FTTH deployments, according to France-based research and consultancy firm iDATE (Pdf here). Telecom operators haven't made any significant push on FTTH due to the hefty investments. Exceptions are France Telecom, Iliad, Telekom Slovenia, and Orange in Slovakia. To date, iDATE has identified 201 FTTH projects in Europe of which 88 are new initiatives since June 2005.

Concerning technical architectures, Ethernet still dominates European FTTH/B deployments instead of PON, especially in the Nordics. ®

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