The switchover from copper-based to completely fibre-based broadband networks in the EU could take 92 years unless the region’s national governments embark on a comprehensive switchover plan, according to UK-based consultancy Ventura Team.

The current migration to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in Europe is described as happening at a “snail’s pace”, and the report warns that this could seriously hinder economic growth across the continent for a long time to come.

“Every technical expert will agree that fibre is the only real technological option capable of meeting the demand for broadband in the long run,” said Stefan Stanislawski, co-author of the study and partner of Ventura Team.

“But in Europe we are still not investing enough money into fibre, and this is not for lack of capital. The industry could fund the switchover itself over a period of 25 years with the right regulations.”

According to the study – which has been funded by the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council Europe – a full switchover resulting in fibre cables laid out to every home in the EU would cost an estimated €261bn in CAPEX. The current rate of telecoms investment into fibre is a “mere” €3 billion a year and that is simply not fast enough, say the authors.

“In our view the telecoms industry must uphold what we call their ‘social contract for timely renewal of assets’,” adds Stanislawski. “In fact, regular telecoms consumers all over Europe are already paying for the switchover to happen over the next 25 years through tariff regulations – except it won’t, unless new regulatory schemes are adopted and enforced.”

To implement the complete switchover to FTTH in a maximum of 25 years, the study advocates a seven-point action plan which includes changing certain regulations, enforcing the existing social contract, changing strategic pricing, updating the concept of universal service, and more.

To download the complete report, click here.


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  • Catchy line, very clever.
    If you’d said the same thing about DSL rollout in 1997, it would have sounded very similar.
    But the 1997-2001 Telecom’s bubble hasn’t yet been forgotten by the operators and their banks.
    I agree regulation is part of what’s holding the industry back, but it’s not the only barrier.
    With today’s service offering’s operators are going to have to sell fibre for the same price as DSL as consumer’s aren’t yet convinced it’s worth any more. I think they’re wrong, but then I’m a geek…

    Reply to Ben on Euro FTTH switchover “could take 92 years”
  • In Sweden the swedish government so far has recieved over 22 billion dollar from now partowned TeliaSonera,since year 2000,but only spends 90 million dollar per year on new fiber. Telia now close down kopperlines for 600 000 households along 50 000 km. The replacement is some GSM system that does not work very well. Telia say that no new basestations shall be built in those areas. The Swedish Government and also EU-commission think that the “market” shal solve all problems,but that wont happen. Now we are back to 1920 years,when the rural areas started the local electricity associations,but now it is to build fiber to the home!

    Reply to Jan-Olov Newborg on Euro FTTH switchover “could take 92 years”
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