French FTTH rollouts gaining ground

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France’s electronic communications Arcep is publishing has published its scoreboard for the fixed broadband and superfast broadband market (rollouts and subscriptions) in France as of the end of December 2018. This quarter confirms the ongoing progress in FTTH subscription numbers and rollouts.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Annual growth in the number of superfast access subscriptions reaches two million, for the first time ever, very largely thanks to the growing adoption of FTTH

  • Over the course of Q4 2018, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or faster than 30 Mbit/s) increased by 615,000 to reach 9.0 million, or an additional 2 million subscriptions year on year (YoY), versus an increase of 1.5 million one year earlier. The majority of this growth is as a result of an increase in the number of subscriptions to fibre to the home/building (FTTH/B) plans, which rose by 485,000 compared to the previous quarter and so accounting for close to 80 per cent of the increase in superfast access user numbers. As of December 31st 2018, the number of end-to-end fibre access lines totalled 4.8 million, which is 1.5 million than the year before.
  • In total, 45 per cent of all premises eligible to subscribe to a superfast access plan were subscribing to such a plan in Q4 2018, which marks a 6 per cent increase YoY.
  • The total number of broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions stood at 29.1 million at the end of Q4 2018, which marks an increase of 190,000 over the previous quarter and of 700,000 year on year (+2.5 per cent).

ROLLOUTS: the number of additional premises passed for fibre reaches a record high of more than one million. This increased pace needs to continue.

Over the past four quarters, 3,212,000 additional premises have been passed for FTTH, of which 1,013,000 in Q4 2018. This is the first ever quarterly increase of more than a million.

  • As of December 31st 2018, 13.56 million premises were eligible to subscribe to an FTTH access service, or 32 per cent more than one year earlier.
  • The vast majority of FTTH rollouts in the fourth quarter of last year were in those parts of the country where the Government has issued a call for investment letters of intent (called ‘zones AMII’ in French). The 630,000 additional premises passed during the quarter mark a record high for these areas.
  • The pace of FTTH rollouts in areas covered by public-initiative rollouts continued to rise during the quarter, with an additional 249,000 additional premises passed. The overall rate of line sharing rose slightly to reach 29 per cent.
  • In total, at the end of Q4 2018, 20.1 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast Internet access service, all technologies combined, including 13.9 million households located outside of very high-density areas.

Monitoring operators’ legally binding FTTH rollout commitments

At the end of Q4 2018, 48 per cent of the premises in the municipalities where Orange made rollout commitments, and 36 per cent of those where SFR has made commitments – in accordance with Article L. 33-13 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE) – had been passed for FTTH access. Operators will need to step up the pace of their deployments if they are to meet their targets on time.


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