Growth of superfast broadband in North America



Head of Research, Telecoms Business Unit, IDATE



The North American superfast broadband market represents 25.3% of the worldwide market at end 2012

  • Superfast broadband has grown much more rapidly in the USA than in Canada.
    • Both AT&T and Verizon, largest RBOCs, have decided to deploy their own superfast broadband networks to be able to provide competitive services faced with cablecos.
    • They have chosen different architecture: FTTN+VDSL for AT&T and FTTH for Verizon.
  • In Canada, the involvement of telcos is much more recent but announcements have been made by Bell Aliant regarding future FTTH rollouts.

In the USA, we consider that all major cablecos have upgraded their entire infrastructures with FTTLA + Docsis 3.0.

  • They are now able to provide superfast solutions to 100 M households in the country.
  • The cablecos do not always focus on higher available speed rates: some of them only provide up to 50 Mbps to end users. This can be considered as a way to keep some margin for future commercial positioning.
  • Cablecos as well as telcos are really focusing on TV and video services.
  • The average ARPU for FTTH services reaches 110 EUR compared to around 45 EUR for cable-based services.
Breakdown of FTTx access technologies in North American at end 2012

Breakdown of FTTx access technologies

Source: IDATE

This analysis is an excerpt of our World FTTx Markets Database & Status report


Superfast broadband: world market


Head of Research, Telecoms Business Unit, IDATE


Superfast broadband revenue set to grow by 95% over the 5 next years, to reach €182 billion in 2017


“The superfast broadband market’s growth potential is greater than ever,” says Valerie Chaillou who heads up IDATE’s FTTx Watch service. “We expect to see superfast broadband revenue grow by 95% over the 5 next years, to reach €182 billion in 2017. Keeping in mind that, at the end of 2012, superfast technologies (FTTH/B, FTTN and FTTLA) accounted for only 21% of broadband access subscriptions.”


FTTH/B remains the leading superfast broadband solution worldwide, way ahead of FTTLA and VDSL

FTTH/B represented 69% of FTTx subscriptions at the end of 2012, compared to 20% for FTTLA and 11% for FTTN+VDSL. But the regional breakdown remains very disparate:
• FTTH/B is clearly the technology of choice in APAC, whereas FTTLA is leading the superfast broadband system in Western Europe and North America;
• VDSL is the technology of choice for several European incumbents;
• It is very early days for NGA rollouts in Latin America and the Middle East. These countries will make an increasingly large contribution to the global spread of superfast broadband in the coming years.

Several top telcos are still grappling with the choice between an FTTH/B or VDSL rollout, especially in Europe:

• Several parameters need to be taken into account – starting with cost. FTTH/B rollouts have nonetheless moved forward in several European countries – which is encouraging at a time when the EU’S telcos are seeing their margins shrink.
• Meanwhile, some players are betting on the future capacity of legacy copper networks.

Part of FTTx Architectures, Worldwide

Part of FTTx Architectures, Worldwide

Source: IDATE, FTTx Watch


FTTx customer rankings: 6 Asian and 4 American telcos make up the world’s Top 10

Only one carrier involved in large-scale FTTN+VDSL rollouts in the top 10 (AT&T), and two cablecos that are upgrading to FTTLA (Comcast and TWC). All three operate in the United States.


Top 10 worldwide FTTx players, at end 2012

Top 10 worldwide FTTx players, at end 2012

Source: IDATE, FTTx Watch


This analysis is an extract from our World FTTx Markets - Database & Status Report which we propose within our ongoing monitoring of the worldwide FTTx market.


Next Gen Access deployment

Roland Montagne

Roland Montagne

Head of the Telecoms Business Unit at IDATE


Measuring costs for each EU-27 member state to reach the Digital Agenda in Europe

In May 2010, the European Commission adopted its Digital Agenda policy programme. It was one of the first flagship initiatives of the EU 2020 strategy. It sets ambitious targets to provide all European households with ubiquitous coverage of 30 Mbps as a minimum and half of them with a subscription of 100 Mbps by 2020. IDATE has published recently a report providing different possible cost scenarios – with a breakdown by technology and by population density (urban, peri-urban, rural).

Today, some voices are raising concerns that the goals of the Digital Agenda (DA) will not be reached in many Member States as the necessary expenditure is beyond reach, especially in the current European economic situation. This is why this report focuses in particular on the cost of the Digital Agenda in reaching the ambitious goal of coverage of 30 Mbps and 100 Mbps, and further tries to clarify, per country, what it will be. It puts forward a theoretical model with the distinction of various scenarios involving distinct technologies, namely fixed and wireless.

"In several European countries, the rollout of FTTH networks has started and the European Union disposes already of a 40% NGA net coverage amongst all its member states. Indeed, copper local loop will ultimately be replaced by fibre, it being the medium that can guarantee an almost infinite bandwidth capacity for the future. Nevertheless, good quality copper, especially in Western Europe, and the current economic situation, could lead some telcos to consider other alternative scenarios involving VDSL, LTE or even satellite in Ka band", says Roland Montagne, Director of the Telecom Business Unit at IDATE. He adds: "The adoption of a FTTH-oriented scenario by telcos will not only depend on the amount of capex necessary but also on a viable business model. On this, telcos should be innovative not only with the services they propose but also on their pricing approach (tiered pricing) and their strategy regarding smart access."

Deployment costs by scenario

  • Four scenarios in different constellations have been modelled, including a full FTTH/B coverage scenario. Depending on the mix of technologies deployed, these scenarios will cost between 51 billion EUR and 229 billion EUR.
  • These amounts, whilst certainly substantial, are within the expected range and therefore come as a confirmation of the ambitious nature of the broadband objectives of the DAE.

*50% uptake
NOTE: Scenario names are chosen to reflect main technological characteristics, but do not express a preference for any given
technology to reach the broadband objectives of the Digital Agenda.
90% FTTH/B = 90% FTTH/B only + 10% LTE
Vectoring = FTTH/B+FTTLA+VDSL Vectoring+VDSL2+LTE)
Wireless = LTE+FTTH/B

NGA Costs model

In order to build our theoretical model of the costs of reaching the DA goals, IDATE started by drawing up several assumptions about ‘overlapping’ in each country with the aim of establishing the ‘net’ number of FTTx homes passed, and thus the effective level of NGA coverage. Consolidating this in the EU27 gives a net NGA coverage rate of 41% of European households in late-2011. Among the four fixed NGA architectures considered (FTTH/B, FTTLA+DOCSIS 3.0, FTTN+VDSL and FTTx/LAN), regarding our estimates at that time, FTTH/B accounted for 22%, FTTN+VDSL for 25% and FTTLA+DOCSIS3.0 for 50% of the European NGA coverage.

Using these coverage estimates as a baseline, IDATE modelled the investment required for each of the 27 Member States to reach the broadband objectives of the Commission's DA. We also took into account, nevertheless, for each Member State, the national broadband or ultra-fast broadband plans already launched, with their associated objectives of coverage up to 2020.

We then considered no duplication of infrastructure in our cost model. Indeed, the model's output shows the minimum cost of reaching the DA targets by rolling out one single network per coverage area1.

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