Inventory of FTTH/B in Europe


Head of Practice

Nearly all players, even if less involved in FTTH/B than in other architectures, see FTTH as the end game


The first nine months of 2016 confirmed the previous year’s trend: fibre rollouts have continued apace and prove that Europe has entered the “Fibre age”! There were close to 44.3 million FTTH/B subscribers and more than 148 million FTTH/B homes passed in the 39 main European countries as of September 2016. These figures represent respective growth rates of 23% and 17% in 9 months.

Apart from Russia which represents the largest share of FTTH/B subscribers (39%), Europe’s other major markets are Spain, France and Romania, followed by Sweden, Ukraine and Turkey. Of course, the demographics of these countries and the maturity of the national FTTH/B market will have an impact on rankings in the coming years.

Thanks to the tremendous increase in coverage in 2014, Spain was once again the most dynamic market during the first 9 months of 2016, reporting 72% growth in subscriber numbers. France too was among the top markets in terms of new subscribers last year, with a growth reaching 23% – compared to an average growth rate in Europe of 19%.

The country rankings in terms of coverage are not the same, however. The average coverage rate in the EU-28 stands at 23%[1]. Countries with the highest coverage rates are those located in Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway with 80%), Eastern Europe (Russia 96%; Bulgaria 91%) and Southern Europe (Spain and Portugal with 98%).

In terms of players involved in FTTH/B rollout projects, alternative carriers and MSOs still lead the way, representing 53% of all homes passed in the 39 main European countries as of September 2016. Their share of the total has, however, decreased since December 2011 when they represented 71% of all homes passed in the region.

The number of local authorities launching FTTH/B rollout projects in their area also decreased during the period, even if more and more are getting involved. This confirms that although their involvement is vital to ensuring exhaustive coverage, their rollouts will be confined to only the areas for which they are responsible. Their approach and strategy are of course different from private players’…

Naturally incumbent carriers are important actors in all European countries. They represent 43% of homes passed in the 39 main European countries as of September 2016, compared to 21% at the end of 2011! In previous years, we noted the growing involvement of incumbents, and today they are involved in at least small FTTH/B projects in every country in Europe. Even if some are still focused on other FTTx architectures, all consider FTTH to be the end game.



[1] Ratio of homes passed to total households.

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