In the ever-evolving digital landscape, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) technology has emerged as a game-changer, revolutionizing internet connectivity across Europe. Deepomatic analyzed the latest FTTH/B Market Panorama by the FTTH Council and highlights the key takeaways and opportunities in the region. Let’s delve into the findings for a short list of countries and explore the technology that can help telecommunications companies stay on track with their objectives.
France and Spain remain the most advanced countries in subscriber connection
The European take-up rate, measuring the percentage of households subscribing to FTTH services out of the total number of homes passed, has shown a positive trajectory. In September 2022, EU27+UK witnessed a 0.4% increase, reaching 52.8%. France and Spain are, without any doubt, the fastest-growing countries in terms of fiber connection. They respectively have penetration rates* of 55% and 73%. Beyond this data, their take-up rates are impressively high, with 72% and 84%. These latter figures reveal that fiber optic has become a widely adopted broadband technology for French and Spanish consumers. This is why offering an exemplary experience to these consumers on the network is a top priority in those very competitive markets. Yet, France has been under the spotlight due to quality problems in fiber connection operations, and this has led to the implementation of a regulation making photos mandatory in fiber works.
Whatever the country, quality control is seen as one of the biggest issues in constructing fiber optic networks and connecting subscribers. Deepomatic accompanies operators in charge of connecting subscribers in the application of their quality standards at scale and in an automated way. How? By placing quality control software directly in the hands of field employees working for network operators and their subcontractors. Photos of works carried out on equipment – street cabinets, building entry points, or termination points – in consumers' homes are analyzed by AI algorithms. Then, field employees are provided with live feedback about the conformity of their work. This eliminates undetected and uncorrected anomalies and therefore, reduces the risk of service interruptions. Bouygues Telecom is part of the internet service providers who have implemented the technology in France and who has witnessed significant benefits from the use of computer vision in fiber connection operations.
Fiber roll-out is accelerating in Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom
With a later start than their French and Spanish counterparts, Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom have nevertheless accelerated their pace of deployment of FTTx.
The United Kingdom doubled the number of homes passed between September 2021 and September 2022. Part of this unprecedented rise can be attributed to the PIA model (Physical Access Infrastructure), whereby AltNets can build their network leveraging the existing infrastructure of the incumbent wholesale operator Openreach. This has undoubtedly increased the velocity of the roll-out of fiber. However, as stated in the report, there is still a lot of work to be done in the country to increase fiber coverage.
Despite a low coverage (21%), Belgium promises to be one of the countries with the most significant acceleration in the region. The recently European Commission-approved cooperation between Fluvius and Telenet, whose aim is to build the network of the future in Flanders and parts of Brussels, holds out the prospect of a fast deployment.
In Germany, just like in Belgium or the UK, infrastructure operators are in the midst of building their fiber networks. The coverage rate is just a few points higher than Belgium at 23.6%, leaving 33 million householders to be still covered with fiber optic. Strategic partnerships are also being stricken in the country to accelerate the roll-out: Vodafone and Altice are collaborating through a joint venture to deploy 7 million sockets. Approximately 80% of the network deployment will focus on areas where Vodafone is already operating through cable, and 20% will cover the neighboring residences of these areas.
The more stakeholders involved in the deployment, the more difficult it is to ensure high-quality documentation. By applying AI to the documentation of fiber build works and automating their quality control process, telecom operators increase their operations' First Time Right rate. This enables them to avoid repeat visits and meet their fiber roll-out deadlines. This eventually allows them to be on track with their deployment calendar and their time to revenue. Read more about the benefits of First Time Right Automation in fiber roll-out.
The future of Europe’s fiber-optic networks is bright, and the time to embrace this technology-driven revolution is now. By integrating AI-powered quality control, businesses can unlock the full potential of FTTH, optimize operations, and deliver exceptional experiences to customers.
Read the full report of the FTTH Council.
*numbers of subscribers out of the total number of households