Thanks in part to the UK and Germany getting their full-fiber acts together, there's going to be huge growth in Europe when it comes to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and fiber-to-the-building (FTTB).
This was a key finding of research released by FTTH Council Europe in collaboration with analyst firm IDATE.
According to IDATE's projections, adjusted for the impact of COVID-19, the number of FTTH/B subscribers and homes passed will rocket between 2020 and 2026.
Taking the EU's 27 member states and the UK together (EU27+UK), the analyst firm estimates 49 million FTTH/B subscribers in 2020. That number, reckons IDATE, will turbo-charge to 148 million by 2026. FTTH/B homes passed in EU27+UK are projected to nearly double from 105 million to 202 million over the forecast period.
A broader survey of 38 European countries, which includes EU27+UK, shows similar growth rates in subscribers (86 million to 208 million) and homes passed (195 million to 317 million).
One reason for what IDATE describes as a "massive surge" in FTTH/B is expected "outstanding" growth in the number of homes passed with fiber in Germany (+730%), the UK (+548%) and Italy (+218%).
In IDATE's 2026 ranking of the top 15 European countries by FTTH/B homes passed, Germany jumps to second place (34 million). For the 2020 estimate, Germany is in joint-eighth position (6 million). The UK shoots up to fourth spot (25.5 million) from joint-eighth.
Despite a comparatively modest growth of 9% over the forecast period, IDATE expects Russia to keep the number one position on FTTH/B homes passed with 53 million (49.1 million in 2020).
OK, that's fine, but what about penetration rates?
In terms of FTTH/B penetration, France catapults from seventh spot (35.5%) to number one position (91.8%) in IDATE's ranking of European countries over the forecast period. The UK zooms up from 14th position (7.1%) to third (81.6%). Belarus, top dog in 2020 (68.4%), slips to fifth in 2026 (78.8%).
Despite impressive growth in the number of homes passed, Italy lies 12th on the FTTH/B penetration metric (43.1%) in 2026, but it is still well up on the country's estimated 7.1% penetration rate for 2020.
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading