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IDATE Claims BT Ultrafast 100Mbps Fibre Optic Broadband Covers 250k UK Homes

Posted: 28th Sep, 2011 By: MarkJ
idateConsultancy firm IDATE, which has been hired by the FTTH Council Europe to deliver an overview of ultrafast fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Home ( FTTH /B /P ) style broadband ISP service availability across Europe, estimates that the number of European (EU-35) homes covered by the technology has grown by 26% (total of 25 million homes passed) during the first half of 2011.

Sadly service subscribers only managed to grow by 14% over the same period and currently stand at a total of 4.6 million, which isn't surprising at a time when expanding coverage is still the top priority for most of the major telecoms market players.

True FTTH/P/B technology takes a fibre optic cable directly to your home or business, which cuts out the interference and instability of using older copper lines and can therefore deliver download speeds of up to and well beyond 100Mbps (i.e. 1Gbps). Sadly it's also an extremely expensive technology to deploy.

The big news is that BT has, for the first time, also appeared in IDATE's FTTH/B table (shown below - sorry for the visual distortion but that's their source image). The data claims that BT's new generation of 100Mbps+ capable Fibre-to-the-Premises ( FTTP ) technology, which is almost identical to FTTH/B, was able to reach 250,000 UK homes by the end of June 2011 (BT's official target is 270k by September 2011).

idate ftth eu homes passed h1 2011

The commercial launch of BT's FTTP service has been delayed a number of times, most recently because it was simply taking too long (several days) to install the service into trial homes and businesses. BT's original aim was for its FTTP deployment to reach 2.5 million homes and businesses in 2012, although it's unclear whether or not that target can still be met.

IDATE notes that alternative carriers singlehandedly account for 55% of FTTH/B homes passed in Europe and incumbent carriers, such as BT, accounted for 33% of homes passed. By contrast local authorities and regional power companies (often owned by public authorities) held just 12%.


Excluding Russia, which leads the FTTH/B market in terms of subscribers and premises passed thanks to its demographic make-up (5.1 million subscribers alone), Sweden is still the leading market with 625,000 FTTH/B subscribers at end of June 2011. This leadership could soon be challenged by France, which is already home to nearly 560,000 FTTH/B subscribers.

The UK, which is considerably more focused upon deployments of copper / VDSL2 based Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) and cable ( Virgin Media ) technology, is likely to remain somewhat overshadowed in IDATE's table for years to come. Much now depends upon whether or not BT can begin its commercial launch of FTTP services before the end of 2011.
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