Today ARCEP is publishing its electronic communications market indicators for wholesale and retail fixed broadband and ultra-fast broadband services in France in the first quarter of 2013

Paris, 30 May 2013

Retail market: accelerated growth for superfast broadband confirmed

As of 31 March 2013, there were 1.7 million superfast broadband accounts in France, or 300,000 more than in 2012 (+22% in a year). This increase is the result of two very solid quarters, each one reporting more than 100,000 additional subscriptions, with translates into a net increase of 100% compared to Q1 2012.

These 1.7 million accounts include 665,000 with a maximum downstream throughput of between 30 and 100 Mbps (or 3% fewer than in March 2012) and more than a million accounts with a throughput equal to or above 100 Mbps, which marks a 46% increase on the year before. The number of FTTH subscriptions, which stood at 365,000 as of 31 March 2013, rose by 50,000 during the quarter and by close to 70% in a year. Nineteen percent of households passed for superfast broadband now subscribe to a service, and the percentage is growing steadily.

The number of broadband accounts - i.e. for a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbps - stood at 22.5 million at the end of the quarter (+160,000 compared to Q4 2012). 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.

This means a combined total of 24.2 million fixed broadband and superfast broadband accounts as of 31 March 2013, which is 260,000 more than the previous quarter and 1.2 million more than in Q1 2012.

Wholesale market: telco spending continues, with an additional 240,000 households eligible for FTTH in Q1 2013

  • 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 2013, alternative operators had unbundled 6,719 exchanges in the copper local loop, which represent 87% of all existing lines. Of the total number of lines eligible for LLU, 11.16 million have been unbundled, which is 875,000 - or 8.5% - more than in Q1 2012. All in all, alternative operators have bought more than 12.6 million wholesale connections from France Telecom, via LLU and bitstream.

  • Upgrades continue on the country's cable networks. As a result, by the end of Q1 2013, around 8.46 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 - running at more than 30 Mbps, which marks a 0.6% increase over last year. Of these connections, 4.8 million are capable of supplying more than 100 Mbps, which is up by 10% compared to Q1 2012. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3.15 million of the homes passed are located outside of very high-density areas.

  • Operators are also stepping up their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollouts. As of 31 March 2013, 2.41 million homes had been passed for FTTH, which is 52% more than the year before. Moreover, 1.26 million of these homes have a choice between at least two providers (or 79% more than in 2011), thanks to the network sharing schemes (i.e. passive access solutions) introduced by the regulator. These homes represent more than half (52%) of all eligible households in mainland France. Also worth mentioning is that 326,000 of these 2.41 million homes are located outside of very high-density areas, and that 420,000 are being served by public-initiative networks.

  • All in all, then, at the end of the Q1 2013, 8.9 million households in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet service, including 3.47 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. This figure of close to 9 million homes passed is in addition to the 30.9 million main lines on the legacy copper network.

Linked documents

RETAIL market (in French only)

WHOLESALE market (in French only)