Paris, 31 May 2012
Still very dynamic broadband and ultra-fast broadband retail market…
At the end of the first quarter of 2012, the number of fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband accounts in France stood at 23.1 million, or 1.3 million more than the year before (+6%). This increase is found in all access technologies: over the course of the year, the number of xDSL subscriptions rose by 5.1% to 21.3 million, FTTH (fibre to the home) accounts increased by 59% to 220,000, and the number of subscriptions to other technologies - primarily cable - grew by 14% to 1.6 million.
The number of subscriptions to ultra-fast broadband services rose by close to 39% over the previous year (up to 715,000) while broadband subscriptions rose by 5.2% to 22.385 million.
Over the past five years, France's broadband and ultra-fast broadband services market has therefore gained 10 million subscribers, spurred by significant and steady growth.
… sustained by massive investments in wholesale markets
All operators have made sizeable capital expenditures over the past several years, which have enabled them to market an array of services over a growing percentage of the country. Particularly worth noting is that, at the end of Q1 2012, alternative operators had unbundled 5,157 exchanges which represent around 85.5% of existing lines. Of the total number of lines eligible for unbundling, 10.283 million have been unbundled, or one million more than the year before (+11%).
Looking at ultra-fast broadband networks, the cable company continues to upgrade its network by replacing coaxial cable with optical fibre. As a result, at the end of Q1 2012, around 4.4 million households were passed for FTTLA - i.e. ultra-fast broadband access via optical fibre, with the last metres employing coaxial cable.
Operators also continue to deploy their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) systems. As of 31 March 2012, 1,580,000 homes were passed for FTTH, which marks a 39% increase over last year. Close to half of these, or 182% more than in Q1 2011, have the choice between at least to providers of FTTH access, thanks to the network sharing schemes stipulated in the regulatory framework. The tremendous acceleration in resource pooling is a clear indication of the priority that operators are giving to investments today, stepping up their connection to buildings that have been passed for fibre by a competing operator. This trend is expected to become a source of competitive emulation in the retail market, and so help sustain a solid rate of increase in ultra-fast broadband customers over the coming months and years.
A total of close to 5.4 million households in France are now eligible to receive ultra-fast broadband services, with some being able to subscribe to two superfast connections - one over the upgraded cable system, and the other via fibre-to-the-home.