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OECD Report Finds UK Fibre Optic Broadband Growth Hit 172% in 2012

Friday, Jul 19th, 2013 (8:59 am) - Score 2,539

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which covers 34 countries that claim to support democracy and a market economy, has reported that the United Kingdom experienced an annual growth rate of 172% for true fibre optic broadband (FTTH/P/B) ISP connections.

As with last year’s report (here) the UK continues to place 8th overall in the OECD’s fixed (wired) broadband penetration rankings (i.e. 34.3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants vs the OECD average of 26.3 per 100) and like most other countries our home market is dominated by slower ADSL (DSL) based copper broadband connections.

DSL based fixed line connections now account for 53.6% of the market in all OECD countries (down from 55.8% last year), while cable platforms like Virgin Media hold 30.8% (up from 30%) and the new generation of fibre optic services grew to 14.9% (up from 13.7%). Total fixed broadband connections in the OECD came to 327.165 million (21,662,097 of which were from the UK).

Elsewhere just 0.2% of the separate market for wireless internet connections was occupied by satellite broadband (1,418,014 subscriptions), while dedicated Mobile Broadband data links held 14.4% (112,088,322) and standard mobile phone based data connections dominated with 84.8% (662,422,218). Take note that we’ve cosmetically customised some of the graphs to make them more readable.

oecd dec 2012 fixed broadband rankings

But the big news this time is that the United Kingdom reported the OECD’s third highest level of annual growth in fibre optic broadband connections at 172%, which is especially interesting since they define fibre services as only including ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) and Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB or apartment LAN).

oecd december 2012 fibre optic growth

However, according to the FTTH Council, at the end of 2012 the United Kingdom was home to around 199,000 truly fibre optic connections with a take-up rate of about 8.5% (somewhat less than the OECD appears to claim). Roughly half of that came from BTOpenreach’s FTTP/H network, while CityFibre did the next 24,000 and the rest came from other operators like B4RN, Hyperoptic, KC and Gigaclear etc.

Elsewhere the OECD said that true fibre optic connections still only account for a minority of the UK market (5%), which compares poorly with top-runner Japan’s 66.72%. However, as most people will be aware, the dominant forms of superfast broadband connectivity in the UK are currently slower hybrid-fibre solutions like BT’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service or cable. FTTC currently has about 1.5 million connections in the UK and passes 15 million premises.

oecd december 2012 fibre optic connections

Overall the OECD states that true fibre optic connections grew by 12.7% in 2012, which is four times as much as fixed broadband on 3.27%.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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