The number of fibre-to-the-home subscribers in Europe, including Russia, has increased by 22 percent over the past six months, thanks to the booming broadband market in the Eastern part of Europe, according to the latest figures from the FTTH Council Europe, which were announced at the Broadband World Forum in Paris. In absolute numbers, Europe reached 3.2 million FTTH/B subscribers (or nearly 4.5 million including Russia). Europe now counts 18 million FTTH/B homes passed (more than 26 million including Russia), a growth of more than 6 percent during H1.
The FTTH ranking now includes 17 countries in Europe where more than 1 percent of households subscribe to broadband over a direct fibre connection. In terms of household penetration, Lithuania is still the leader, just ahead of the more mature FTTH markets of Sweden and Norway. The top five fibre nations now include three new European member states - Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia. Romania is a new entrant, taking 13th place with 1.58 percent household penetration and more than 120,000 FTTH/B subscribers.
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Bulgaria shows the fastest progression in the ranking, moving from 16th to 8th position during H1. Lithuania, still in first place, showed the second fastest growth rate, boosting subscriber penetration by 3.3 percentage points. The majority of FTTH subscribers (74 percent) are concentrated in eight countries, namely Sweden, France, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands, Denmark and Slovakia. Amongst them, six countries can boast more than 200,000 subscribers and Denmark as well as Slovakia are getting close. Major European economies such as Italy and France are still at the bottom of the ranking, and others such as the UK, Germany and Spain are noticeably absent, although co-investment between operators and national plans initiated by governments could soon start to enhance FTTH/B coverage in those nations. The FTTH Council Europe's ranking is part of its Market Panorama study, carried out by research firm Idate.