Thriving wholesale and retail markets

Paris, 28 February 2013

Today ARCEP is publishing its electronic communications market indicators for wholesale and retail fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband services in France in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The number of fixed network broadband and ultra-fast broadband accounts in France stood at 24 million as of 31 December 2012, which marks an increase of 330,000 from the previous quarter and of 1.2 million compared to Q4 2011.


  • More than 1.6 million of these 24 million accounts are to a superfast service, which is 115,00 more than at the start of the quarter (+8%) and 260,000 more than in Q4 2011 (+19%). We have thus seen a clear acceleration in the growth rate in recent months. These ultra-fast broadband accounts are split between 670,000 subscriptions to a plan supplying a maximum download speed of 30 to 100 Mbit/s (down by 2% on the year) and 935,000 to plans supplying a maximum speed equal to or above 100 Mbit/s, whose numbers rose by 40% over the year before. An additional 45,000 FTTH accounts were opened during the quarter, bringing the total number to 315,000 - which translates into a roughly 60% increase compared to Q4 2011. Eighteen percent of French households which can subscribe to a superfast service now do.
  • The number of broadband accounts - i.e. for a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbit/s - stood at 22.4 million at the end of the quarter (+215,000 compared to Q3). Ninety eight percent of these accounts are to an xDSL service, and the remaining 2% of the connections are supplied by cable or wireless technologies such as satellite, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, etc.

Stakeholders continue to invest in wholesale markets, and the percentage of homes with access to more than one FTTH solution, thanks to network-sharing schemes, has overstepped the 50% mark for the first time.

  • 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. By the end of Q4 2012, alternative operators had unbundled 6,495 exchanges, which represent 86% of all existing lines. Of the total number of lines eligible for LLU, 10,910 million have been unbundled, which is roughly one million (or 11%) more than in 2011. All in all, alternative operators have bought more than 12.3 million wholesale connections from France Telecom, via LLU and bitstream.

  • The country's sole cable company continues to upgrade its network by replacing coaxial cable with optical fibre. As a result, by the end of Q4 2012, around 8,460,000 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, 4,789,000 are capable of supplying more than 100 Mbits/s, which is up by 11.7% compared to Q4 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 stepping up their FTTH rollouts. 2,165,000 homes had been passed for FTTH as of 31 December 2012, which is up by 46% on the year before. Moreover, 113,000 of these homes have a choice between at least two providers (or 95% more than in 2011), thanks to the network sharing schemes introduced the regulator. Also worth noting is that 305,000 of these 2,165,000 homes are located outside of very high-density areas, and that 360,000 are being served by public-initiative networks.

  • All in all, at the end of Q4 2012, 8,850,000 households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet service, including 3,450,000 households located outside of very high-density areas - with some having access to a choice of two solutions: one supplied over the upgraded cable network and the other over an FTTH system.

Linked documents

Wholesale market (in French only)

Retail market (in French only)