Deployment of optical fiber in France: a record year in 2020

Written by Guillaume
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This article is an automatic translation

While the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of networks - for telecommuting or entertainment - it has also underscored the usefulness of fiber, which just happened to have a great year in France in 2020.

The French regulatory authority for electronic communications, posts and press distribution - better known as ARCEP - has issued a statement detailing the results of its monitoring of the market for fixed broadband and ultra-broadband services, with data as of December 31, 2020. Not surprisingly, the growth in the number of broadband and ultra-broadband subscribers in France has been sustained throughout the past year. As a result, we have gone from 29.7 million subscribers at December 31, 2019 to 30.5 million at December 31, 2020.

It should also be noted that very high-speed broadband is the one that is boosting these results, since broadband has fallen sharply: from 18.4 million subscribers, we have now reached 15.9 million. On the other hand, very high speed broadband has increased significantly from 11.3 million to 14.6 million subscribers. Finally, as you can see on the graph above, it is indeed optical fiber that is driving very high speed subscriptions. Remember that the term "very high speed" includes fiber subscriptions, but also VDSL2 and coaxial cable networks when the downstream speed exceeds 30 Mbps.

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of fiber subscribers rose from 7 million to 10.3 million, a 47% increase in twelve months. More interestingly, we note that the deployment of very high speed broadband is not limited to only the densest areas. ARCEP distinguishes AMII zones - medium density - where 1.1 million premises were made eligible for fiber in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. The same is true for RIP areas - the most remote - which have gained 500,000 premises eligible for fiber over the same period.