Asia-Pacific Continues to Lead in FTTH Market Penetration

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 
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With Robust Growth in Fiber to the Home Subscribers, Asia-Pacific Continues to Lead in FTTH Market Penetration; U.S. Subscriber Growth Still Going Strong, More European FTTH Countries Emerging

WASHINGTON, DC — With continued regional growth in fiber to the home (FTTH) market penetration, Asia consolidated its position as the global leader in the march toward next-generation broadband while the United States and Europe also continued to experience robust growth in FTTH, according to an updated global ranking issued today by the FTTH Councils of Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

The ranking, updated twice a year and released today at the FTTH Council Asia-Pacific’s 3rd Annual Conference and Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, tracks the level of FTTH market penetration in economies where more than one percent of households are connected directly into high speed fiber networks. In all, 14 economies met this threshold.

South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan now occupy the top four positions in the ranking, and the Asian region now accounts for more than 27 million of the world’s estimated 32 million fiber to the home connections. South Korea now has nearly 37 percent of its households connected to fiber, with Hong Kong at 27 percent, Japan at 24 percent and Taiwan at 7.7 percent. And while the People’s Republic of China ranked 11th in terms of market penetration, growth in the number of connections to 7.5 million means that China is now second only to Japan in the number of households with FTTH.

“This is an exciting time for FTTH broadband in Asia. FTTH has overtaken DSL in South Korea and will soon do the same in Japan,” said Shoichi Hanatani, President of the FTTH Council Asia Pacific. “Here in the Asia-Pac region, we are witnessing the end of a hundred years of telecom history as copper loops are quickly being replaced by optical fiber access networks.”

Four Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark) and Slovenia occupied the fifth through ninth positions in the ranking, with market penetration ranging from 7.5 percent to 3.2 percent. The Netherlands and Italy were in the 12th and 13th positions, each with market penetration of 1.4 percent. In all, European countries reported 1.4 million FTTH connections.

Joeri Van Bogaert, President of the FTTH Council Europe, noted that large FTTH projects now underway in France and Germany, as well as deployments in other EU countries such as Greece and Portugal, will likely affect the rankings in the near future.

“The fact that seven European countries made the global ranking, and that several rank among the top FTTH countries in the world, is a clear indication that Europe is moving forward with the adoption of next-generation broadband,” he said. “However, this positive picture does not yet represent the entire continent, which is why the FTTH Council Europe will continue to educate investors and other stakeholders and to promote accelerated deployment of FTTH networks in all European countries.”

The United States is third among the world’s economies in the total number of FTTH households at 3.3 million, and is in 10th position in the global ranking with 2.9 percent market penetration. The U.S. continues to experience the highest rate of growth of any economy in terms of FTTH subscribers – doubling the number of connections year over year. This is due largely to an aggressive FTTH deployment by market leader Verizon, Inc. and ongoing FTTH build out by more than 600 smaller providers across the country.

“Clearly, North America, and particularly the United States, has crossed the chasm and is now moving decisively toward fiber to the home as the broadband platform of choice,” said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council North America. “Aggressive FTTH deployment in the U.S. has created a lot of buzz about this exciting technology, and the word of mouth from early FTTH subscribers is driving growth and fueling further deployments.”

South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden, Norway, Slovenia, Iceland, Denmark, United States, China, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore