The popularity of streaming services like Netflix, coupled with increased competition for broadband speed, are strong reasons for operators in Western Europe to up their fibre efforts, according to Kagan.
The TMT arm of S&P Global Market Intelligence said that fibre progress to date has been slow due to factors including high rollout costs, a lack of regulation, and the arrival of DSL-boosting technologies such as very-high-bit-rate DSL and G.fast.
Across 16 major markets in Western Europe, Kagan said that only Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Spain have broadband markets where fibre accounts for more than 20% of broadband homes.
Sweden is the market leader with 60.7% of its broadband market using fibre, while Spain sits at 46.8%, Norway 42.3%, Portugal 38.6%, Finland 33.2% and Denmark 22.5%. Aside from France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, all other markets’ fibre share was at 5% or lower.
“After years of fibre inactivity across much of Western Europe, renewed efforts are emerging that will help plug the gap between the fibre haves and have-nots,” said Mohammed Hamza, senior analyst at Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence.
“The region’s broadband markets are approaching saturation on copper lines and operators are increasingly competing on speeds and strengthening the case to commit to fibre, especially as last-mile build costs come down to an average of €600 per premise.
“The growing popularity of high-bandwidth services, namely over-the-top video streaming, 4K Ultra HD video, video gaming and calling, augmented and virtual video as well as live sports will further pressure operators to act.”