Today ARCEP is publishing its electronic communications market indicators for wholesale and retail fixed broadband and superfast broadband services in France in the first quarter of 2014.

Paris, 28 May 2014

Steady rise in rollouts and subscriptions


Retail market: at the end of March 2014, there were 2.2 million active superfast broadband accounts in France (+30% on the year), including 640,000 to a fully fibre service (+69% on the year).

● In the first quarter of 2014, the number of subscriptions to a superfast broadband service (i.e. with a maximum downstream throughput equal to or above 30 Mbit/s) grew by 155,000 to reach more than 2.2 million, or 505,000 additional subscriptions on the year (+30%). Among these superfast subscriptions, the number that are to a fully optical service (640,000 connections at the end of March 2014) increased by 69% compared to the year before, or by a total 260,000. This total of 2.2 million subscriptions also includes VDSL2 services that deliver a throughput equal to or above 30 Mbit/s, and which operators have been offering since 1 October 2013.

The number of broadband accounts – i.e. for a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbps – stood at 23 million at the end of the quarter, which is 140,000 more than in the previous quarter.

● This means a combined total of 25.2 million fixed broadband and superfast broadband accounts as of 31 March 2014, which is 295,000 more than in the previous quarter and one million more than in Q1 2013.

The subscription rate (1) for FttH services reached 20% for the first time, and the subscription rate for superfast broadband, all technologies combined, now stands at more than 19%.


Wholesale market: as of 31 March 2014, 11.4 million households (+28% on the year) had access to a superfast broadband service, including 3.2 million passed for FttH (+36% on the 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. By the end of Q1 2014, alternative operators had unbundled 7,857 exchanges in the copper local loop (+1,138 on the year), which represent 89.8% of all existing lines. Of the total number of lines eligible for LLU, 11.8 million have been unbundled, which is 665,000 (or 6%) more than in Q1 2013. Alternative operators have thus bought more than 13.1 million wholesale connections from Orange, via LLU and bitstream.

● The country’s cable networks continue to be upgraded. As a result, by the end of Q1 2014, around 8.6 million homes were eligible to receive FTTLA and HFC access – i.e. optical fibre to the last amplifier and coaxial cable in the last metres – providing connection speeds equal to or above 30 Mbit/s, which marks a 2% increase over last year. Of these connections, 5.4 million are capable of supplying a throughput equal to or above 100 Mbit/s, which is up by 10% compared to Q1 2013. 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 also continue to deploy their fibre-to-the-home (FttH) networks. As of 31 March 2014, 3.15 million homes had been passed for FttH, which is 36% more than the year before. 1.7 million of these homes have a choice between at least two providers – or 45% more than in 2013 – thanks to the network sharing schemes (i.e. passive access solutions) introduced by the regulator. These homes represent more than half of all eligible households in mainland France. Moreover, 654,000 of these 3.15 million homes are located outside of very high-density areas, and 506,000 are being served by public-initiative networks.

● VDSL2 technology has been available nationwide since 1 October 2013. Among the lines covered, ARCEP now records more than 2.7 million that are capable of delivering superfast broadband services, i.e. with a throughput equal to or above 30 Mbit/s.

● All in all, then, at the end of the Q1 2014, 11.4 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet service, including 6.1 million 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. These 11.4 million homes passed are to be set against the 30.8 million main lines on the legacy copper network.

● A file containing raw data that can be transformed into usable information is available on the ARCEP website, allowing users to track a series of indicators published as part of this observatory over a long period of time.


(1) The subscription rate refers to the percentage of households passed for a given technology that actually subscribe to the service.