Today ARCEP is publishing its electronic communications market indicators for wholesale and retail fixed broadband and superfast broadband rollouts and subscriptions in France, in the first quarter of 2015

SUBSCRIPTIONS: at the end of March 2015, there were 3.6 million superfast broadband subscriptions in use (+60% on the previous year), including more than a million to a complete fibre system (FttH), which marks a 63% increase over the year before. FttH subscriptions overstepped the one million mark for the first time ever.

- In Q1 2015, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or higher than 30 Mbit/s) increased by 445,000 to reach 3.6 million, which means 1.3 million additional subscriptions since Q1 2014 (+60%). Within this total, the number of subscriptions to access lines providing a connection speed of between 30 and 100 Mbit/s increased by 785,000 over the previous year, to reach 1.560 million (+101%). 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 1.040 million at the end of March 2015, has increased by 63% over the previous year, or by 400,000 lines.

- The number of broadband subscriptions - i.e. to a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbit/s - still represent 86% of all broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in Metropolitan France. But this figure has shrunk over the past two quarters (-245,000 subscriptions on the previous quarter in Q1 2015), and stood at 22.6 million at the end of this past quarter.

- In total, then, the number of fixed broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in France stood at 26.2 million at the end of Q1 2015, which marks an increase of 200,000 over the previous quarter and of 940,000 on the year (+3.7%).

- At the end of March 2015, the subscription rate (1) for superfast broadband stood at 26%, which marks a three point increase over the previous quarter and a seven point increase over Q1 2014.

ROLLOUTS: at the end of March 2015, 13.5 million households (+18% on the year) were eligible for a superfast broadband service, of which 4.4 million via FttH (+39% in a year).

- 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 Q1 2015, alternative operators had unbundled 8,968 exchanges on the copper local loop, or 1,100 more than the year before, and now serve 91.6% of all existing lines - which is up by 1.8 points on the year. Of this total number of lines eligible for LLU, 12.4 million have been unbundled, which is 531,000 more than at the same time the year before (+4.5%). This means that alternative operators have bought 13.5 million wholesale connections from Orange, via LLU and bitstream.

- Upgrades to coaxial cable networks in France are also ongoing. As a result, by the end of Q1 2015, 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. 6.2 million of these connections are capable of supplying a throughput of 100 Mbit/s or more, which is 16% more than in Q1 2014. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3.6 million of the homes passed are located outside of very high-density areas.

- Operators are also stepping up the pace of their fibre to the home (FttH) rollouts. As of 31 March 2015, 4.4 million homes were eligible to subscribe to an FttH plan, or 39% more than the year before. After a record increase in the previous quarter, rollouts in Q1 2015 continued to be steady, with coverage being delivered to an additional 302,000 homes, increasing the number of eligible homes by 8% on the quarter. Around 62% of these homes, or a total 2.7 million households (+62% 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 1.4 million of these 4.4 million homes are located outside very high-density areas, and that 669,000 are being served by public-initiative networks (PIN). As in the past two quarters, FttH rollouts in lower density areas (+ 185,000) outnumbered those in very high-density areas (+ 117,000).

- Additionally, VDSL2 has been available to all lines in copper local loop since 27 October 2014. 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 more than 5 million, or around 130,000 more lines than in the previous quarter. At the end of March 2015, around 9,600 exchanges had been made VDSL2-capable by at least one operator, which represents coverage of around 93% of all the lines in France.

- All in all (2), at the end of Q1 2015, 13.5 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet access service, including 8.1 million households (60%) located outside of very high-density areas.

- 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.

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(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.


Linked documents

RETAIL market (in French only)

WHOLESALE market (in French only)