To meet ever-growing consumer data demands and offer new digital products and services, European telcos are strongly investing in high-speed fibre broadband.
European fixed telecom providers are joining forces through co-investment projects and network sharing agreements, to accelerate coverage and reduce the costs of fibre deployment.
For instance, Vodafone and Orange agreed in April 2019 to grant shared access of their future fibre networks to both operators in Spain.
Furthermore, European telecom regulators and governments are also encouraging and incentivising fibre deployment. For instance, the French regulator, ARCEP, announced a “fibre zone” initiative in December 2018 to stimulate the migration from copper lines to fibre broadband.
Additionally, the Italian government is planning to provide subsidies in a voucher scheme, of up to $3,423 (€3,086) to small and medium enterprises, and up to $5,705 (€5,143) to schools, when migrating fixed broadband to the fibre-optic network. The government also incentivises fibre deployment in less profitable areas such as rural areas or areas with a low population density.
xDSL is the leading fixed broadband technology, accounting for 49.9 per cent of total fixed broadband lines in 2019. Fibre will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4 per cent over 2019-2024 and will become the leading fixed broadband technology by 2023, surpassing xDSL as shown in the graph below.
In Europe, Russia has the highest share of fibre lines as a percentage of total broadband lines, amounting to 75% in 2019. However, Spain’s fibre market is expected to take the lead in Europe and outrank Russia by 2024, with an 86.5% share of total broadband lines.