Quarterly Broadband Monitoring
According to InfoCom’s Quarterly Broadband Monitoring service, overall fibre optic connections in Western Europe recorded 7.4m in 2Q14, a 35% jump from the previous year – outpacing the growth of DSL (+1% YoY) and cable modem (+18% YoY). In terms of share to total broadband connections, although DSL is still the dominant technology with 77% share, it slightly eroded (-1.9 p.p) while fibre optic exhibited the highest YoY improvement, noting an increase of 1.2 p.p. and ending the quarter with around 5% share.
Among the countries, Spain (113%) demonstrated the largest YoY growth in fibre connections (i.e. FTTH and FTTB), distantly followed by France (69%) and Luxembourg (41%). These huge improvements were claimed to be due to active engagement of operators in network sharing deals, infrastructure upgrades and expansion as well as heavy marketing of multi-play offers.
For instance, Orange is aggressively participating in network sharing deals and marketing of its FTTH bundles in different countries especially Spain and France. In Spain, Orange and Vodafone partnered for a network sharing deal which aimed to cover 6 million homes and offices in over 50 cities with fibre optic connectivity. Meanwhile, in France, Orange also partnered with Syndicat Intercommunal d’Energie et de E-communication de l’Ain or SIEA, an institution which runs a public initiative fibre network in the area of Ain. In this deal, the operator is targeting to offer FTTH service to around 90k households in 419 towns within the eastern edge region of France.
Fibre footprint expansions likewise boosted the number of product offers – as in the case of Spain – stirring tighter competition among operators. In January 2014, Orange Spain launched an expanded fibre optic double-play package which was initially offered to their mobile customers during a promotional period, but was later offered to all possible subscribers. Similarly, in April 2014, Vodafone Spain officially launched its FTTH service marketed in various bundles (e.g. all bundles include 100 Mbps fibre broadband, unlimited fixed line calls and 50 minutes of fixed to mobile calls per month).