xDSL is the leading fixed broadband technology in Europe, accounting for 49.9% of all fixed broadband lines, but fibre is forecast to overtake it by 2023.
According to new analysis from GlobalData Technology, fibre will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% to 2024.
At present, Russia has the highest share of fibre lines in Europe as a percentage of total broadband lines (75%), but Spain expected to take the lead in 2023, with an 86.5% share.
“To meet ever-growing consumer data demands and offer new digital products and services, European telcos are strongly investing in high-speed fibre broadband,” GlobalData Technology said.
The research notes that European fixed telecom providers are increasingly joining forces through co-investments projects and network sharing agreements, to accelerate coverage and reduce the costs of fibre deployment. For instance, in April this year, Vodafone and Orange agreed to grant shared access of their future fibre networks to both operators in Spain.
European telecom regulators and governments are also encouraging and incentivising fibre deployment. For instance, the French regulator, ARCEP, announced a ‘fibre zone’ initiative in December 2018 to stimulate the migration from copper lines to fibre broadband.
The Italian government is planning to provide subsidies – via a voucher scheme – of up to $3,423 (€3,082) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and up to $5,705 (€5,137) for schools when migrating fixed broadband to the fibre-optic network.
The Italian government also incentivises fibre deployment in less profitable areas such as rural areas or areas with a low population density.
A debate continues in Italy about the consolidation of the fibre network operators, TIM and Open Fiber.