Paris, 5 March 2015
Growth in the quarter was due entirely to an increase in the number of superfast broadband access lines, as the number of classic broadband lines shrank for the first time ever.
SUBSCRIBERS EVOLUTION: at the end of December 2014, there were 3.1 million superfast broadband subscriptions in use (+50% in a year) of which 935,000 to a complete fibre system (FttH), which marks a 67% increase over the year before.
- In Q4 2014, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or higher than 30 Mbit/s) increased by 600,000 to reach 3.1 million, which means one million additional subscriptions since the start of the year (+50%). Within this total, the number of subscriptions to access lines providing a connection speed of between 30 and 100 Mbit/s increased by 530,000 over the previous year, to reach 1.275 million (+72%). These superfast broadband subscriptions also include VDSL2 plans, all of which deliver speeds equal to or above 30 Mbit/s, which ISPs have been marketing since 1 October 2013 - in addition to being extended to indirect distribution lines (i.e. from neighbourhood cabinets) since 27 October 2014. The number of subscriptions to fully optical (Fttx) access lines, which stood at 935,000 at the end of December 2014, increased by 67% over the previous year, i.e. by 375,000 lines.
- The number of broadband subscriptions - i.e. to a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbit/s - stood at 22.9 million at the end of Q4, which is 290,000 less than in the previous quarter, but stable compared to Q4 2013.
- In total, then, the number of fixed broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in France stood at 26 million at the end of Q4 2014, which marks an increase of 305,000 over the previous quarter and of one million for the year (+4%).
- At the end of December 2014, the subscription rate (1) for FttH superfast broadband had reached 23%, or 4% more than the year before, which is equal to the rate of subscription to all superfast access technologies combined.
NETWORK DEPLOYMENT: at the end of December 2014, 13.3 million households (+20% on the year) were eligible for a superfast broadband service, of which 4.1 million via FttH (+37% in a year).
- Operators are also accelerating their fibre to the home (FttH) rollouts. As of 31 December 2014, 4.1 million homes were eligible to subscribe to an FttH plan, or 37% more than the year before. The quarter was also marked by a record deployment that brought coverage to an additional 424,000 homes, increasing the number of eligible homes by 12% on the quarter. Around 63% of these homes, or a total 2.6 million households (+68% on the year), have a choice between at least two superfast fibre access providers, thanks to network sharing schemes introduced by national regulation. Also noteworthy is that 1.2 million of these 4.1 million homes are located outside very high-density areas, and that 624,000 are being served by public-initiative networks. As in the previous quarter, FttH rollouts in lower density areas (+ 288,000) outnumbered those in very high-density areas (+ 136,000).
- Upgrades to the country's coaxial cable networks are also ongoing. As a result, by the end of Q4 2014, around 8.7 million homes had been equipped for FttLA and HFC access - i.e. optical fibre to the last amplifier and coaxial cable in the last metres, delivering speeds equal to or above 30 Mbit/s. 6.1 million of these connections are capable of supplying a throughput of 100 Mbit/s or more, which is 17% more than in Q4 2013. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3.7 million of the homes passed are located outside of very high-density areas.
- VDSL2 has been available to all lines in copper local loop since 27 October 2014, and data on indirect distribution lines are now included in this observatory. Among the lines covered by this technology, ARCEP puts the number capable of supplying superfast access, i.e. speeds equal to or above 30 Mbit/s, at 4.9 million, or around 2 million more lines than in the previous quarter. One year after VDSL2 was introduced, ARCEP puts the number of exchanges that have been made VDSL2-capable by at least one operator at around 8,500, which represents coverage of around 91% of all the lines in France.
- All in all (2), at the end of Q4 2014, 13.3 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet access service, including 7.9 million households (59%) located outside of very high-density areas.
- Operators have made substantial investments over the past several years to be able to deliver a wide range of solutions over a growing portion of the country. As a result, by the end of Q4 2014, alternative operators had unbundled 8,728 exchanges on the copper local loop, or 1,111 more than the year before, and now serve 91.4% of all existing lines - which is up by 2.2 points on the year. Of this total number of lines eligible for LLU, 12.3 million have been unbundled, which is 668,000 more than at the same time the year before (+5.8%). This means that alternative operators have bought more than 13.5 million wholesale connections from Orange, via LLU and bitstream.
- An open data file is available on the ARCEP website, which makes it possible to track the indicators published as part of this observatory over time.
(1) The subscription rate refers to the percentage of households eligible to subscribe to a given technology that actually subscribe.
(2) Some households have access to a choice of several solutions: supplied over the upgraded cable network, over an FTTH system or a VDSL2 plan supplied over the legacy copper network.