At the 10th annual Assises du Très Haut Debit (Superfast broadband symposium) hosted by Aromates and IDATE DigiWorld in Paris on 6 July, we delivered a sneak peak of our coverage figures for Europe at the end of 2015, drawing on our own FTTx databases, the latest data collected from regulators and operators, along with our freshly released market report, “The Digital Agenda for Europe: a snapshot”.
Clearly, the situation varies dramatically from country to country, and the objectives set by Europe will be hard for some countries to achieve without a major policy push. The most advanced countries benefit from a strong cable footprint and an incumbent carrier that has made less ambitious technical choices than extensive FTTH rollouts. Belgium, for instance, combines vast a and dense cable system that has been upgraded to the latest Docsis technologies (>100Mps) and the top carrier’s choice to upgrade its legacy copper network to VDSL (>30Mps).
On the whole, the largest countries in Europe are less likely to achieve all of the Digital Agenda objectives. In France, for instance, the combination of giving top priority to achieving extensive FTTH rollouts, the relatively limited cable coverage (40% of households) and the very gradual deployments in the country’s more rural areas based on public-private partnerships – which will eventually coverage 40% of access lines – have put the country among the lowest ranked in terms of availability of superfast access lines and average connection speeds. The situation is better in the UK and Germany where BT and DT were quick to deploy VDSL (>30 Mbps) access products, in response to aggressive competition from cablecos. Meanwhile Spain, which has combined investments in FTTH and cable, also tops France in the rankings. Only Italy, whose incumbent dragged its heels on significant spending on FTTH and was unable to capitalise on a cable system, is faring less well than France.
The IDATE DigiWorld report reveals that, once ultrafast access networks are in place, customers are eager to sign up. We have therefore noted a much higher NGA take-up rate in those areas where ultrafast access (100 Mbps and faster) is available. This means that we can count on a virtuous cycle of differentiation that encourages market players to invest in faster networks, not with a view to continually increasing the price of access plans, but rather to enable solutions that meet a growing array of needs.
When considering these future scenarios we must not, however, underestimate the complexity of the regulator’s task which, up until now, has been defined by European copper LLU rules. The fact of replacing ADSL with VDSL (with Vectoring/Bonding and G.fast) and FTTH would seem to give the incumbent a natural advantage, setting up a duopoly with cable. But this is too simplified a view since we also need to take into account (particularly when looking at the regulatory situation in France) the potential for duplicating superfast infrastructures in very high-density areas, how it is in operators’ interest to pool their investments in medium-density areas, and the role of public-private partnerships in sparsely populated areas, not to mention the promise of superfast mobile.
Hope you all have a great summer!
FTTR is expected to disruptively transform home broadband experience
The outbreak of pandemic has led to an inevitable surge in the use of digital technologies and placed broadband networks as an key enabler for various digital applications in home, including teleconference, online education, 4K / 8K ultra-high definition video, VR / AR games, etc. Since then the typical requirements of the connected home have evolved. An 8K video stream requires at least 150 Mbps of bandwidth, which is four times more than 4K. Applications such as live streaming, online classes, and live streaming require very low latency, typically 50 milliseconds or less. In addition, home broadband connections need to be capable of supporting multi-service concurrent scenarios. High-quality Internet has become an indispensable part of people's lives, work, and entertainment. Fiber optic cable is the most preferred transmission medium in networks for its superior bandwidth, faster speed, and enhanced reliability. Fiber to the room (FTTR), which extends fiber connectivity from the "last mile" to the "last meter", offers customers a premium full fiber connection, enabling to meet network requirements of various home applications.
The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted tremendous opportunities for 5G in several sectors
The pandemic will clearly have sizeable repercussions on the 5G ecosystem in the short term (postponed spectrum auctions, delayed commercial launches and deployments, economic impact, etc.). At the same time, however, it has also revealed the essence of 5G’s role, and the many benefits this new technology can bring to several specific sectors, such as health, media, education, transport and retail sales.
Can 5G FWA rival FTTH?
IDATE DigiWorld has just published its 5G Fixed Wireless Access market report and provides estimates of the 5G FWA market’s potential up to 2024, both worldwide and for the following regions: North America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific.