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France: Superfast broadband access tops 50%

June 7, 2021

By Colin Mann

After a record year in 2020, the first quarter of 2021 has marked a turning point, according to findings from telecoms regulator Arcep, which show that  more than half of all Internet access subscriptions as of  March 31st 2021 are now to superfast services

Arcep’s (Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes) scoreboard for the fixed broadband and superfast broadband market suggests this progress was buoyed by the tremendous progress in fibre (FTTH) deployment and adoption, following through on a record-breaking year in 2020.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Superfast access subscriptions now the majority in France. Over the course of Q1 2021, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or faster than 30 Mbit/s) increased by 1.1 million – i.e. by 70 per cent YoY – to reach 15.7 million. Which means they now represent the majority (51 per cent) of all Internet subscriptions in France (+9 points YoY), and 53 per cent of all premises passed for superfast access, which marks a five-point increase over last year.

ROLLOUTS: Public-initiative networks have registered their best quarter ever, with deployments that outpaced private operators’ rollouts in so-called Zones AMII (Appel à Manifestation d’Intention d’Investissement) areas, where the Government has issued a call for investment letters of intent. The overall rate of deployment remained high in Q1 2021, with an additional 1.4 million FTTH lines installed.

As of March 31st 2021, 25.6 million premises were eligible to subscribe to an FTTH access service, or 31 per cent more than one year earlier. A quarter of them are located in in high-density areas, half in zones AMII, and the final quarter in areas served by public-initiative networks. The majority of the growth continues to be in those parts of the country served by public-initiative networks: during this record-breaking quarter, an additional 650,000 premises were rendered eligible in these areas that are benefitting from operators’ and local authorities’ drive.


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