Central regions | Telecoms, media

Russia emerges as “clear fiber leader” in Europe’s FTTH deployment

27 Feb '13
Russia outpaced the entire European Union in new fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) subscribers in the second half of 2012, laying the foundation for a “head start” on deploying cutting-edge fiber-enabled technologies, an industry organization announced last week.

In its latest study, reported yesterday by East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, the FTTH Council Europe found that, between July and December of last year, Russia had displayed an outstanding 42% increase in new fiber users, adding “2.2 million new FTTH subscribers – more than all of Europe’s 27 member states combined – to reach a grand total of 7.5 million fiber-connected homes.”

The EU27 countries grew at a somewhat muted rate of 15% during the same period, with the addition of 820,000 new subscribers, the Council reported.

Russia now ranks sixth on the Council’s ‘top ten” list of European nations claiming FTTH/FTTB (fiber to the building) + LAN penetration in excess of 10%. While in the FTTH segment the country showed a modest penetration rate of 1% – far behind neighboring Lithuania, dubbed “the dominant fiber nation” with more than 31% of homes connected – FTTB in Russia advanced much more heartily at a robust 14% rate.

Russia is also among Europe’s five most “dynamic” economies, “where new subscribers added in 2012 represented the highest proportion of total subscribers at the end of 2012,” following Turkey, Ukraine, Spain, and Bulgaria, according to the Council’s study.

Unlike Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, the pioneers of the technology which hold the continent’s leading positions in fiber development, Europe’s largest economies “are still dragging their feet over fiber,” the Council emphasized. In the UK, for example, home connection to fiber optics accounted for “less than 0.1%.” This has prompted Karin Ahl, president of the FTTH Council Europe, to admit that “the disparity between the early and late adopters is becoming even more apparent.”

Commenting on a possible economic future of the FTTH-aided countries, the Council president said that “fibered-up nations can make a head start on deploying new services like remote health care and smart grid technologies.”
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