Paris, 29 November 2012
Today ARCEP is publishing its electronic communications market indicators for wholesale and retail fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband services in France in the third quarter of 2012.
There were 23.6 million operational fixed broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in France as of 30 September 2012, marking an increase of 310,000 compared to the previous quarter and of 1.3 million compared to Q3 2011.
Close to 1.5 million of these are subscriptions to a superfast broadband plan, which is 50,000 more than in Q2 2012. These can be broken down into 650,000 plans whose maximum connection speed ranges from 30 to 100 Mbit/s and 840,000 with a connection speed equal to or above 100 Mbit/s, which marks a more than 40% increase for this bitrate class over the year before. The number of FTTH accounts at the end of September stood at 270,000 which is 25,000 more than in Q2 and roughly 60% more than last year. Seventeen percent of French households who can subscribe to a superfast service now do.
Starting this quarter, ARCEP has brought its definition of ultra-fast broadband in line with the tiers set by the European Commission. This means that, from now on, a distinction will be made between internet connections whose advertised download speed is equal to or above 30 Mbit/s and those whose advertised download speed is equal to or above 100 Mbit/s. Up until now, ARCEP had used a single tier that corresponded to an advertised download speed of more than 50 Mbit/s.
Meanwhile, broadband accounts in France - in other words for a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbit/s - stood at 22.1 million at the end of the quarter, which is 260,000 more than in Q2 2012. Ninety eight percent of these are xDSL plans, while the remaining 2% of the connections are supplied by cable or wireless technologies such as satellite, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, etc.
Ongoing investment in wholesale markets, and more than two million homes have now passed for FTTH
- Operators have been investing heavily over the past several years to be able to deliver a wide range of solutions over a growing portion of the country. By the end of Q3 2012, alternative operators had unbundled 6,350 exchanges, which represent around 85.9% of all existing lines. Of the total number of lines eligible for LLU, 10,685 million have been unbundled, which is roughly one million (or 10%) more than in 2011. All in all, alternative operators have bought 12 million wholesale connections France Telecom, via LLU and bitstream.
- The change in ARCEP's definition of ultra-fast broadband access means that a portion of cable systems that can deliver access at speeds of between 30 Mbits/s and 50 Mbits/s which had not previously been included are now taken into account. ARCEP will nevertheless continue to make a distinction in its scorecards between homes passed for the different types of access, differentiating between those networks that supply fibre to the home (FTTH) access and optical networks with coaxial cable in the last metres (FTTLA) that supply speeds of 100 Mbits/s, on the one hand and, on the other, cable networks that deliver access at 30 Mbits/s.
- France's sole cable company continues to upgrade its network by replacing coaxial cable with optical fibre. As a result, by the end of Q3 2012, around 8,449,000 homes had been passed for FTTLA and HFC access - i.e. optical fibre to the last amplifier and coaxial cable in the last metres - running at more than 30 Mbits/s, which marks a 1% increase over last year. Of these connections, 4,731,000 are capable of supplying more than 100 Mbits/s, which is up by 11% compared to Q3 2011. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3,160,000 of the homes passed are located outside of very high-density areas.
- Operators are accelerating their FTTH rollouts. As of 30 September 2012, 2,038,000 homes had been passed for FTTH, which is up by 51% on the year before. 976,000 of these homes have a choice between at least two providers (or 141% more than in 2011), thanks to the network sharing schemes introduced the regulator. Also worth noting is that 363,000 of these 2,038,000 homes are located outside of very high-density areas, and that 328,000 are being served by public-initiative networks.
- In total, then, at the end of Q3 2012, 8,830,000 homes in France were able to subscribe to an ultra-fast broadband service, of which 3,450,000 outside of very high-density areas - with some having access to a choice between two superfast solutions: one supplied over the upgraded cable network and the other over an FTTH system.