State of play for fibre to the home in Europe
Across Western Europe there are one million users connected to a Fibre to the Home (FTTH) service according to vnunet.com.
This represents just 1.4% of the 79 million broadband customers across Europe. Around 65% of these fibre connections are in Sweden where it provides 650,000 connections out of the country's 2.3 million broadband connections. Sweden has a population of 9.1 million people. In general the FTTH networks are not owned by telecoms companies but by utilities or local authorities.
With FTTH making its presence felt in France, Scandinavia and The Netherlands it is to be expected that UK broadband users will be feeling left out. BT will be the target for a lot of the angst, but it appears even in other countries that to get FTTH going it needs more than purely commercial pressures. In the next couple of years the Ebbsfleet development looks likely to be the UK showcase, but companies like Virgin Media, if their 50Mbps cable service is affordable, may offer some relief for speed junkies. Virgin Media and its cable network is a hybrid fibre and coax cable system. For the BT local loop to offer this sort of speed to more than a handful of people, fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) would be needed.