French regulator Arcep has published its scoreboard for the fixed broadband and superfast broadband market – rollouts and subscriptions – in France at the end of March 2019. The results for this quarter confirm the ongoing increase in FTTH subscription numbers and rollouts.
Over the course of Q1 2019, the number of superfast broadband subscriptions (maximum download speed equal to or faster than 30 Mbps) increased by 565,000 to reach 9.5 million, or an additional 2 million subscriptions year-on-year, versus an increase of 1.7 million in 2018. As a result, as of 31 March 2019, a third of all internet subscribers in France had a superfast access line.
Virtually the entirety of this quarterly growth is due to an increase in the number of subscriptions to fibre to the home/building (FTTH/B) plans, which rose by 515,000 compared to the previous quarter and so accounting for more than 90 percent of the increase in superfast access subscriptions. As of 31 March 2019, the number of end-to-end fibre access lines totalled 5.3 million, which is by 1.7 million more than the year before.
In total, 46% of all premises eligible to subscribe to a superfast access plan were subscribing to such a plan in Q1 2019, which marks a five-point increase YoY.
The total number of broadband and superfast broadband subscriptions stood at 29.3 million at the end of Q1 2019, which marks an increase of 165,000 over the previous quarter and of 675,000 year on year (+2.4%).
Over the past four quarters, 3.47 million additional premises have been passed for FTTH, of which 899,000 in Q1 2019, or around 40% more than in Q1 2018.
As of 31 March 2019, 14.46 million premises were eligible to subscribe to an FTTH access service, or 32% more than one year earlier.
The pace of FTTH rollouts in areas covered by public-initiative rollouts increased significantly during the quarter, with an additional 235,000 additional premises passed in Q1 2019. The overall rate of line sharing also showed a marked increase this quarter, rising to 38%. It nevertheless remains far below the rate in areas covered by private initiative rollouts where it stands at 90%.
In total, at the end of Q1 2019, 20.8 million households in France could subscribe to a superfast internet access service, all technologies combined, including 14.6 million households located outside of very high-density areas.
Arcep also continued monitoring the legally binding FTTH rollout commitments that operators have made in selected parts of the country “AMII zones”.
In early August 2018, the French Government formally accepted the commitments proposed by Orange and SFR in accordance with Article L. 33-13 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE), after receiving a favourable opinion from Arcep. Pursuant to this article, Arcep is now responsible for monitoring operators’ compliance with the obligations they made.
At the end of Q1 2019, around 50% of the premises in the municipalities where Orange made rollout commitments, and 40% of those where SFR has made commitments have been passed for fibre. Operators will need to step up the pace of their deployments if they are to meet their targets on time.
The first deadline is a commitment to have at least 92% of the premises passed by the end of 2020, with the remaining being passed “on request”.
The cartefibre.arcep.fr allows users to obtain fibre coverage information on individual buildings, and so to track the progress of FTTH rollouts in a detailed fashion. The site now also provides a snapshot of rollout forecasts, which means users can see the expected timeline for fibre rollouts in a given municipality.
(Picture Source: ARCEP)