FTTH19 FTTH Conference

5 things I learned at the FTTH Conference 2019

by Liz Edwards, Head of Marketing and Communications at 4site


The FTTH Council of Europe hosted their annual FTTH Conference in Amsterdam in March 2019. All the movers and shakers in the world of fibre infrastructure were there.

Here are the 5 key learnings I took away from this fascinating event.



1. Ireland’s Fibre roll out is going in the right direction

Last year Ireland joined the global rankings for fibre to the home as part the market panorama at just over 1%. This year Ireland has seen growth to 3.8%.  We are going in the right direction but less than 4% is still not enough. Ireland and the UK have a lower then average FTTH homes passed and subscription rate. The EU28 average is 38.2%?


SIRO was mentioned a number of times as a leading European Wholesale-only company driving take up. Countries like the UK are also applying this strategy, with disruptors like CityFibre and Hyperoptic challenging Openreach to roll out a gigabit society. That strategy is expected to influence a huge growth rate over the coming years.Suzanne Tracy SIRO FTTH19

In fact, our operators are acting fast to turn Ireland into a gigabit society. Eir are investing €500m. Siro have already rolled out 40 towns and are investing in towns like Donegal and Meath. And Imagine and Cignal may not be offering FTTH, but their wireless alternative are driving this gigabit society we strive for.

2. Wireless and fibre complement each other

Speaking of wireless there was much talk of how fibre will work with the nascent 5G.


One of the main takeaways I took from the week is that no-one disputes that 5G does require a fibre backhaul. As we have said in our previous blog [Wireless and fibre: complement not compete] the two can work very well side by side. (although Allison Kirkby of TDC Denmark said she doesn’t believe it complements; but that it is a supplement.)

3. The UK joined the market panorama

The big news on this year’s panorama is that the UK entered the global ranking.


The UK joined the rankings this year with 1.5% of total homes passed.  The country is now part of the Global Ranking, with a percentage quite like other EU28 countries such as Austria (1.5%) and Croatia (1.9%).


Do we think the UK will grow to 3.8% penetration like Ireland? The forecasts say so. In fact, it won’t be long before UK will join the leaders in the EU and will be second only to Russia by 2025 in terms of numbers. Or 71.7% household penetration rate.

4. Europe and Global FTTH take up rates are huge

The deployment of both FTTH and FTTB networks has increased significantly. By September 2018 it is estimated that the coverage of FTTH/B reached 46,4% in the EU39 and 36,4% in EU283 . This shows a clear upward trend from September 2015 where the estimated coverage rate in the region was 39% in the EU39 and 27,2% in the EU28.


UAE, Qatar and Singapore are the global leaders in fibre to the premises with over 90% penetration rate. Overall GCC and APAC are clear leaders in the rankings globally.


Ireland and the UK have quite a hill to climb to get to those rates!

5. What is the killer app?

OK so that is a question rather than a learning. But the past has taught us that bandwidth always proceed the application. Video is the killer app at the moment, but who knows what is coming next. It could be the customer who uses video, gaming, working from home, etc. We as an industry need to future proof the fibre networks to enable whatever application comes next.

The killer app is the customer!

As Operators are planning from 10G not just 1G, it is also striking that big investors are willing to invest in fibre infrastructure builds. [Read how Community Fibre and Adtran are partnering to deliver 10Gg service]

At 4site we want to drive a gigabit society. Get in touch to find out more how we can help with fibre and wireless projects.

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