Is Fiber to Home Feasible in EU Within 20 Years?

ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading providers of digital communications and services estimates it will cost €660 billion to create ubiquitous gigabit internet access networks using fiber to the home, and might take as long as 30 years to achieve, at current rates of investment.

Those sums include €360 billion to enable FTTH broadband for all European households, €200 billion in 5G radio access networks as well as €100 billion for low-latency proximity data centers.

You can draw your own conclusions about whether that is feasible.

To illustrate how much has changed in terms of access policy, consider that it was in 2010 that the European Community set a goal of 30 Mbps internet access across the region. By 2016, the EC announced a new goal of access at more than 100 Mbps by 2025, with gigabit access for key enterprises, schools, other important public institutions.

One key problem is declining returns for investment in telecom infrastructure,  the Boston Consulting Group study suggests. Over the last five years, return has dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent, for example.

The other problem is that revenue per account in Europe has not risen as speeds have grown between 2012 and 2015. Triple-play package prices, for example, declined 25 percent over that same period.

That problem also is being seen in Australia, where the percentage of customers willing to pay more to get 100 Mbps service in place of 25 Mbps service. Only about 14 percent of consumers are willing to pay the premium to upgrade to 100 Mbps services, for example.
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