Switzerland's national operator Swisscom is now delivering "ultra-fast" broadband services of 100 Mbit/s or faster to more than 1 million customers, with about 80% of those customers hooked up directly to a fiber connection, it announced today.
And that's no mean feat in a country with a population of just over 8 million and about 3 million households.
Swisscom has about 1.85 million retail fixed broadband customers in total, so more than half of that customer base is receiving the operator's 'ultra-fast' broadband service. The milestone is the result of years of investment (sometimes with municipal or utility company partners) in fiber deployments and the latest copper broadband enhancement technologies, which means Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has an array of different broadband access 'flavors.' The operator first announced its fiber broadband plans and investments back in 2008: see Swisscom Plans $2.3B FTTx Rollout.
Here's a breakdown of Swisscom's ultra-fast broadband progress:
Swisscom's aim is to offer its ultra-fast broadband services to more than 2.3 million homes and businesses by the end of 2015, and more than 4.6 million by 2020.
The driving forces behind its investments are competition and service support: The company knows it needs the best fixed and mobile broadband services to be able to deliver high quality consumer services such as IPTV (it has more than 1 million customers for its service) and business services, especially as cloud-based services become more popular. (See Swisscom Embraces OpenStack With PlumGrid.)
Switzerland is one of a growing number of European countries that, after years of talk, FTTH has been widely deployed. But the continents is still divided: Some major European operators, while boasting in their marketing about "fiber broadband," are mainly focused on running fiber to various distribution points (curb, cabinet, and so on) and relying on the existing copper plant for the final connection, so avoiding the high up-front costs of taking fiber all the way to homes and businesses. (See No Easy Answers on FTTH Investment.)
Swisscom's news comes only a day after one of its main broadband services rivals, cable operator UPC Cablecom , announced that it is merging with its sister cable operator in neighboring Austria. (See Eurobites: Liberty Merges Euro Operations.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading