Monday, March 03, 2008

BPN 1026 FTTH spreads globally

The number of countries where fibre to the home (FTTH) connections are showing significant gains in the broadband services market continues to expand, according to an updated global ranking issued by the FTTH Councils of Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

The new ranking, based on statistics gathered at the end of 2007, lists 14 economies where more than one percent of households are connected directly into high speed fibber optic networks. On the first-ever ranking, released in July 2007, 11 economies exceeded the 1 percent threshold. In the new ranking Slovenia, Iceland and Singapore have been added as new entries to the list.

Globally, 2007 was the best year yet in terms of numbers of new subscribers to FTTH services, thanks primarily to strong growth in Japan, China and the United States, where a total of nearly 6 million new FTTH households were added for the three countries.

The updated ranking shows that Asian economies continue to outpace the rest of the world in terms of FTTH market penetration, with South Korea moving into the top slot with 31.4 per cent of households connected, followed by Hong Kong at 23.4 per cent and Japan at 21.3 per cent.

A large gap separates third place Japan from fourth place Sweden, where 7.1 per cent of homes are wired with FTTH, followed closely by Taiwan at 6.8 percent and Norway at 6 percent. Denmark, at 2.5 percent occupies seventh position on the chart.

The United States, by more than doubling its penetration rate to 2.3 percent, moved up three places to eighth position, followed by two of the three countries making their first appearance on the chart, Slovenia at 1.8 percent and Iceland at 1.5 percent. The People’s Republic of China moved from tenth to eleventh place as direct fibber connections in that country moved up slightly to 1.5 percent. Netherlands, Italy and Singapore rounded out the list with market penetration rates ranging from 1.1 to 1.4 percent.

The basic conclusion is that Asia is far ahead of the USA and Europe in glass fibre projects. In Europe there are 2000 FTTH and VDSL projects. European projects are usually a mix of small to large FTTH projects. In the Netherlands the penetration is around 1,1 per cent; its largest project is Cityring in Amsterdam with 40.000 households in the first phase, still to be connected. Also the cities of Rotterdam and Eindhoven have large scale projects planned, while my home town Almere has started connecting 70.000 households.

The speed of the FTTH connections is also moving up. Presently 50 to 100 Mbps speeds are offered. However by 2010 Draka Comteq, manufacturer of glass fibre, expects that speeds up to 1Gbps will not be an exception for FTTH. The capacity will be filled up fast with HD Gaming and HDTV; for proper IPTV a capacity of 100Mbps is just a start.

Blog Post Number 1026

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