Europe claims 8.1 million of world's FTTH base, but price remains an obstacle

Europe's presence in the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) segment has grown to 8.1 million subscribers, according to the latest report by the FTTH Council Europe during its annual FTTH Conference 2011 in Milan, Italy.

To date, FTTH facilities pass about 33 million European homes, which it says continued to grow by a rate of 21 percent throughout 2010.

Taking Russia out of the equation, the council reports that eight countries--or about 67 percent of FTTH/B subscribers as of the end of 2010-in Western and Northern Europe lead FTTH growth. Included in this group are Sweden, Italy, France, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Turkey.

"We are seeing steady growth in the European FTTH/B market, which is being spurred largely by Eastern European countries, and especially Russia. European incumbents are becoming increasingly involved in FTTH, and nearly all have FTTH rollout plans or are already deploying fibre on a large scale," said Roland Montagne, Director of IDATE's Telecoms Business Unit, in an ISPreview article

However, it appears that even in areas where FTTH service is available, penetration rates barely rose above 17.5 percent as of the end of 2010. This is in stark contrast to Japan and the U.S. where FTTH penetration rates are 39 and 34 percent.

So what's preventing subscribers from lighting up a FTTH connection?

Well, for one it appears that the majority of European broadband customers are in no hurry to give up their low-priced DSL-based Internet connection just to switch to FTTH. And while FTTH does provide higher speeds that far surpass what's available on DSL, the biggest challenge service providers will face in convincing current DSL consumers to switch to FTTH will lie in their ability to provide competitively priced offerings.   

For more:
- ISPreview has this article

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