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FTTH Ultrafast Fibre Optic Broadband Connections Pass 175000 UK Homes

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 (2:50 pm) - Score 3,568

The FTTH Council Europe has released its latest global ranking of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) based fibre optic broadband ISP internet connections. Sadly the UK still doesn’t have enough true fibre connections to show in the main list but related services have now passed 175,000 homes.

The ranking only includes countries where at least 1% of households are within reach of a FTTH/B/P connection (i.e. when the fibre optic cable is taken directly to your doorstep for top speeds of 100Mbps+). At present some 32 countries have managed to achieve this, which is up from 30 in 2011 and 21 at the end of 2009.

Unsurprisingly the top spots are almost exclusively dominated by countries in the Asia Pacific region, such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, where the state has often assisted in construction of the national fibre optic networks. But actual penetration in these markets hasn’t change a lot since the previous February 2012 report (sorry for the difficult to read country names below).

ftth penetration june 2012

As before the United Kingdom is nowhere to be seen, which isn’t surprising as the country’s current roll out has been dominated by hybrid fibre (e.g. FTTC) and cable services from BT and Virgin Media. Hybrid fibre methods often deliver slower speeds but are more economical to deploy, which is due to the use of existing copper cables for the “last mile” run into homes.

However the UK isn’t a completely blank slate when it comes to true fibre optic connectivity. According to data for homes passed between December 2011 and July 2012, BT and a number of smaller operators (e.g. CityFibre, B4RN, Hyperoptic, KC etc.) have now reached around 175,000 homes with a mix of FTTH/P/B solutions; but just 13,000 homes have subscribed.

ftth homes passed june 2012

Going forward the UK situation should continue to improve but this is likely to remain a slow process because none of the major operators look set to switch away from their hybrid solutions. However BT’s plan to launch an FTTP-On-Demand service in Spring 2013, which will make a true FTTP connection available to any homes or businesses that are already within reach of FTTC connectivity, could boost uptake.

But to achieve this feat BT has to effectively replace the existing copper line (too costly for most home users) and means that the service isn’t technically available to a home unless you subscribe to it (we’re not sure how the FTTH Council will view that one). Credits to Thinkbroadband for getting the charts out before tomorrow’s PR publication.

Separately it’s worth pointing out that many FTTH countries often don’t achieve even close to the technologies top speed, which is usually due to a mix of Traffic Management measures, network congestion and related ISPs frequently offering a choice of cheaper but slower speed packages.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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