PARIS -- 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 2013.
Retail market: at the end of 2013, there were 2.1 million superfast broadband subscriptions in use in France (+28% in a year) including 540,000 to FttH services (+72% in a year)
In the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions i.e. with a maximum download speed equal to or above 30 Mbit/s increased by 200,000, up to 2.1 million, which translates into an additional 445,000 subscriptions for the year as a whole (+28%). FttH subscriptions, which totalled 540,000 at the end of December 2013, increased by 72% over the previous year, with an additional 225,000 accounts created. The total 2.1 million superfast broadband subscriptions also include VDSL2 plans delivering speeds equal to or above 30 Mbit/s, which ISPs have been marketing since 1 October 2013.
The number of broadband subscriptions i.e. to a connection with a maximum advertised download speed of less than 30 Mbit/s stood at 22.8 million at the end of Q4 (+55,000 for the quarter).
In total, then, the number of fixed broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions in France stood at 24.9 million at the end of 2013, which marks an increase of 260,000 for the quarter and 900,000 for the year.
Wholesale markets: at the end of 2013, 11 million homes and business premises (+24% in a year) were eligible for a superfast broadband service, of which 3 million via FttH (+38% 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. By the end of Q4 2013, alternative operators had unbundled 7,608 exchanges on the copper local loop, or 1,113 more than the year before, and now serve close to 89.2% of all existing lines. Of this total number of lines eligible for LLU, 11.6 million have been unbundled, which is roughly 688,000 more than in 2012 (+6.3%). This means that alternative operators have bought more than 12.92 million wholesale connections from Orange, via LLU and bitstream.
Upgrades on the countrys coaxial cable networks are also ongoing. As a result, by the end of Q4 2013, around 8.6 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, which marks a 1.6% increase over the year before. Five point two million of these connections are capable of supplying a throughput of 100 Mbit/s or more, which is 8.5% more than in Q4 2012. Within this base of potential superfast broadband cable customers, 3.5 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 December 2013, 2.98 million homes were eligible to subscribe to an FttH plan, or 38% more than the year before. Half of these homes, or a total 1.5 million homes and business premises (36% more than in 2012), have a choice between at least two superfast fibre access providers, thanks to network sharing schemes introduced by national regulation. Also noteworthy is that 586,000 of these 2.98 million homes are located outside of very high-density areas, and that 484,000 are being served by public-initiative networks.
VDSL2 has been available nationwide since 1 October 2013. 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 2.3 million.
All in all, at the end of Q4 2013, 11 million homes and business premises in France were able to subscribe to a superfast internet access service, including 5.8 million homes and business premises (53%) located outside of very high-density areas. These 11 million homes and business premises with access to superfast broadband are to be set against the 30.8 million main lines supplied by the legacy copper network.
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