Is Germany ready to embrace FTTH competitiveness?

Date: Mon, 01/30/2012 - 14:48

Exclusive data revealed recently shows that Germany is still lagging in FTTH adoption and remains at the bottom of Europe's league of real high-speed broadband countries

Is Germany ready to embrace FTTH competitiveness? Hartwig Tauber, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe

With only 1 Million Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) homes passed at end-2011, Germany remains one of the European laggards in ultra-fast broadband.
According to exclusive preliminary data revealed today by the FTTH Council Europe during a press conference in Munich, Germany's FTTH market is dominated by alternative players, often supported by municipalities and utilities, and mostly focused on large cities.
The data, which is collected for the Council on a twice-yearly basis by industry analyst firm IDATE, shows that the number of FTTH/B subscribers in Germany stands at just 166,000. This represents only 0,4% of the country's households, and is just a drop in the ocean, preventing the majority of German citizens from reaping the socio-economic benefits of FTTH/B access.
German consumers are very slow in adapting to Fibre-to-the-Home high-speed networks. In cities and regions where FTTH or FTTB (Fibre to the Building) is available, only one in six households currently subscribes to the new networks. The lack of interest on the part of the consumers is in part due to existing long-term contracts that bind customers to an internet provider for up to 24 months and to the fact that many of the new connections are not - or badly - marketed and communicated to the end users.
Only FTTH/B can ensure continuously large reliable upload and download bandwidth, combined with high quality of service. But FTTH/B is much more than fast internet: it enables a new world of services and applications in home entertainment, as well as new ways of working and taking care of the sick and the elderly. Alternative technologies using existing copper networks are merely partial and temporary responses, not comparable to future-proof fibre access solutions.
It is widely recognised that broadband, and particularly ultra-fast broadband is a key factor for productivity and economic growth. While politicians, carriers, and organisations in Germany are still discussing the importance of fibre networks, other countries are already rolling out this solution. In Sweden, Norway and Lithuania more than 10% of all households are already using FTTH/B connections. France, the Netherlands, Russia and Turkey also have a considerable head start.
"It remains to be seen whether the year 2012 will mark a change in Germany's FTTH positioning", said Hartwig Tauber, Director General of the FTTH Council Europe. "For a large country such as Germany, time is of the essence and the course has to be set today in order to ensure a timely solution for the implementation of future-proof access solutions, particularly if the country is to keep its leading role as the driving force of the European economy!"
The FTTH Conference, which will be taking place at the International Congress Centre Munich (ICM) on 14-16 February 2012 will highlight the many different ways in which FTTH can create social, economic and environmental benefits and cover a wide range of other topics such as financing and regulatory environment. The event's theme is "Creating a brighter future".
The FTTH Conference is the largest FTTH event in the world. The conference fee includes entry to all conference sessions, free admission to the exhibition, general catering, all printed documentation and online access to the presentations after the event. Registration to the event is offered free of charge for media representatives.

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