Fibre positively impacts economy and society, says FTTH Council Europe study

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The FTTH Council Europe has released the findings of its new study – carried out by WIK – on the socio-economic benefits of fibre, which explores whether fibre-based connectivity is transforming and enhancing the way we live, do business and interact.

The study, which was revealed at the FTTH 2018 conference in Valencia, analyses the socio-economic benefits of fibre to the home (FTTH) in both Sweden and The Netherlands. Case-studies and a representative online survey of 1,018 Swedish consumers (conducted by YouGov between 29 September and 2 October 2017) were used for this. The results were weighted to draw representative conclusions for the Swedish population (age 18+). For comparison, a representative survey conducted in Sweden in 2014 by YouGov and a survey conducted on behalf of the FTTH Council Europe in Sweden in 2009 were used.

The responses led to the conclusion that for the majority of FTTH users, fibre is about higher speed and better value for money. Of the FTTH subscribers, 87 per cent mentioned high bandwidth as the primary reason for purchasing a FTTH connection, whilst 62 per cent said they were satisfied about the higher range of services they get with FTTH. Of the respondents, 51 per cent were of the view that fibre provides better value for money.

Satisfaction from end-users was additionally said to be higher than recorded for any other internet access technology in Sweden, reaching 83 per cent in comparison with DSL or cable, which were respectively reported at 52 per cent and 72 per cent. Additionally, 94 per cent of non-FTTH users said they would consider subscribing to FTTH if it was made available in their area.

Another area looked at by the study was the impact of fibre on the economy and society. It found that in Europe, FTTH/B infrastructure has a positive impact on the environment, with 88 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions per gigabit compared with other access technologies. In France, 4.8 per cent more start-ups were created in municipalities equipped with ultrafast broadband, compared to the ones with slower access.

Fibre is also playing its part in tackling the demographic challenge in The Netherlands, where the second case study was conducted. The development of fibre allowed the use of new services like ‘domotica’ and home automation helping elderly citizens connected by the FTTH network in the area.

‘Given that Scandinavian and Baltic countries are leading the way on FTTH/B penetration, it was particularly interesting to study the perspective of end-users in Sweden,’ said Ronan Kelly, president of the FTTH Council Europe. ‘The migration process (from another technology to FTTH) started in Sweden in 2007 and is already quite advanced, and the shares of subscriptions that rely on other technologies such as DSL and cable have decreased over the same period. This transition provided a large quantity of data to analyse and the opinion of the end-users and their degree of satisfaction were therefore crucial in understanding what triggers end-users to choose fibre and how they use fibre connectivity.’

Added Erzsébet Fitori, director general of the FTTH Council Europe: ‘FTTH is the only future-proof foundational infrastructure that will enable the new technologies and services we cannot even imagine yet, and continuously adds value to end-users. It contributes to the protection of the environment, improvement of health and facilitates access to education and allows remote working in particular in less dense areas.’

Also revealed at the conference were the latest figures of the FTTH Market Panorama – prepared by IDATE for the FTTH Council Europe, which demonstrate that the number of FTTH and FTTB subscribers in Europe has increased (see FTTH Conference 2018: Europe sees 20% growth in fibre subscribers).

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