New data from the FTTH Council Europe shows that France added the most fibre connections of any country in Europe in the year leading to September 2020, with Italy, Germany, and the UK hot on its heels

In the UK today, telecoms media is consumed with BT’s announcement that it is increasing the pace of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout, upping its 2026 target from 20 million premises to 25 million. But, as important as this news is for the UK, it should be remembered that country currently lags behind a number of key European rivals when it comes to fibre coverage and these rivals are also rolling out fibre at a blistering pace.
Now, the latest data from the FTTH Council Europe has shown exactly how the European nation’s stack up when it comes to FTTH.
In fact, Europe as a whole has hit a very significant milestone, with over half of all homes now having access to a FTTH connection. The total number of homes passed with FTTH in the EU39 reached just shy of 182.6 million homes by September 2020, up over 10 million since the same time a year earlier. 
Unsurprisingly, it was Western Europe that led the charge in rolling out fibre. France passed the most homes, adding 4.6 million, while Italy added 2.8 million, Germany 2.7 million, and the UK 1.7 million. When it came to actually subscribing to these fibre services, France once again was the standout performer, adding 2,787,000 new subscribers.
It is interesting to note, however, that it is not necessarily the countries that are rolling out fibre the fastest or on the largest scale that are seeing the greatest uptake of the technology, with Russia adding 1,681,000 subscribers, and Spain adding 1,436,000. 
Proportionally, Belgium has seen the largest growth rate increase in the last year with 155%. Serbia was second, seeing a 110% growth rate, while Germany was third (+66%), the UK fourth (+65%), and Ireland fifth (+49%).
In absolute terms, Iceland tops the FTTH rankings for the second year running, with a 70.7% penetration rate, followed closely by Belarus (70.4%) and Spain (62.6%). Despite its huge growth rate, Belgium languishes at the bottom of the chart with a 1.3% penetration rate, followed by Austria (2.1%), and the UK (3.7%).
According to a recent Ofcom report, over one in five homes in the UK now have access to a FTTH connection, but, as we can see from these stats, uptake is clearly lacking. 
Overall, the FTTH Council Europe’s report shows a generally positive approach to fibre deployment and uptake throughout Europe, though there is clearly much work still to be done. The use of copper and cable-based networks are gradually being phased out, though it is worth noting that three historically copper-strong countries (UK, Germany and Italy) are accounting for almost 60% of homes left to be passed with fibre in the EU27+UK region. 
“The telecoms sector can play a critical role in Europe’s ability to meet its sustainability commitments by reshaping how Europeans work, live and do business. As the most sustainable telecommunication infrastructure technology, full fibre is a prerequisite to achieve the European Green Deal and make the European Union’s economy more sustainable. Competitive investments in this technology should, therefore, remain a high political priority and we look forward to working with the EU institutions, national governments and NRAs towards removing barriers in a way to full-fibre Europe,” said Vincent Garnier, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe.
Every European nation faces unique challenges in rolling out the latest connected technologies and so needs to devise unique strategies. Join us later this year for our industry-led, country-specific connectivity events, Connected Britain, Connected Germany, and Connected Italy 
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