Ovum: FTTH benefits European communities

FEBRUARY 27, 2009 -- A study conducted by Ovum with the FTTH Council Europe concludes that FTTH positively contributes to improvements in socio-economic metrics such as quality of life, improved productivity, better public services, and increased employment.

FEBRUARY 27, 2009 -- A study conducted by Ovum (search Lightwave for Ovum) with the FTTH Council Europe (search Lightwave for the FTTH Council Europe) concludes that FTTH positively contributes to improvements in socio-economic metrics such as quality of life, improved productivity, better public services, and increased employment.

The study was conducted in the underserved rural areas of Sweden that had a number of small communities with very high penetration of FTTH and FTTB. It was carried out using "a wide range of metrics" to determine relative prosperity and its correlation to FTTH deployments at the local/regional level. The study is the first of its kind to closely investigate how FTTH enables socio-economic growth in European communities and municipalities, Ovum and the council assert. Results were presented at the FTTH European conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 11, 2009.

"The study is the first of its kind to show a correlation between a large percentage of businesses and homes connected with fiber and a link to benefits and cost savings for education, health, and public administration," said Lynn Hutcheson, vice-president, communication components, at Ovum. "The study itself included extensive consumer surveys, regional case studies, and interviews with representatives from government agencies, municipalities, network associations, and network operators."

The findings demonstrate clear social and economic improvements in areas with higher FTTH and FTTB penetration, the parties conclude. Benefits cited included better e-learning and health services, significant reductions in telecom costs, and a closer collaboration between municipalities and public-service providers.

According to Thomas Kallstenius, from the FTTH Council Europe's Market Intelligence Committee, "The study has successfully demonstrated that fiber to the building or home at a municipal level has significant positive impact on local economies from both a social and economic perspective. The clear network superiority of fiber provides a platform for improving employment levels, attracting small businesses, encouraging remote workers, and ultimately helping to raise the regional knowledge economy. Couple this with the benefits to public services such as enhanced e-learning opportunities and improved health and home care by enabling services such as remote diagnostics, and it becomes clear that improved communications can provide significant socio-economic benefits to European communities."

Joeri Van Bogaert, president of the FTTH Council Europe, concluded, "This study provides even further depth to the business case for FTTH. FTTH's ability to enhance social inclusion and create a positive impact on social and economic welfare for consumers is a key consideration for today's telecommunication and investment communities, and the results of this study provide a clear message. Furthermore, and most interestingly, the section of society which was afforded most socio-economic benefit from FTTH was that with the lowest income. In a time of financial downturn where concerns grow daily regarding the next economic stimulus package, these results indicate that where limited resource and distance remain barriers to quality of life, next-generation broadband can provide the social and economic stimulus needed today."

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