Global FTTH subscribers grew 15% in first half of 2009

OCTOBER 1, 2009 -- Fiber-to-the-home deployment continues unabated, with more than 5.5 million new FTTH/B subscribers added worldwide in the first six months of 2009.

OCTOBER 1, 2009 -- The mission to accelerate the deployment of superfast fiber connections is making steady progress despite the global economic downturn, according to the FTTH Councils of Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America.

The number of FTTH/B subscribers grew by 15% in the first six months of 2009, with more than 5.5 million new subscribers added worldwide, according to the latest update to the global ranking of FTTH/B economies, jointly issued by the three FTTH Councils.

Compiled every six months by the FTTH Councils and presented this week at the FTTH Council North America's annual conference and exhibition in Houston, TX, the global ranking includes all economies where more than 1% of households have an FTTH/B connection.

At the end of June 2009, 21 economies met this threshold. All of the top 10 ranked economies in the global ranking have more than 5% of their households connected with FTTH/B.

The Asia-Pacific region still leads the global ranking with South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan taking the first four places, followed by the Nordic countries of Sweden and Norway.

The top three global economies in terms of the total number of new subscribers are China, Japan, and the United States. With nearly 800,000 FTTH/B subscribers added in the first six months of this year, the U.S. was able to maintain its position among the top 10 FTTH/B economies worldwide.

"In North America, fiber to the home continues to grow rapidly, driven by high satisfaction among those who have it, as well as the obvious competitive bandwidth and connectivity advantages," explains Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council North America. "Here in the world's second largest FTTH market, we are seeing fiber to the home really changing the way people live, learn, and work -- with a growing number of subscribers using their services to work from home and to access innovative applications for remote education and telemedicine."

"We are happy to see a steady growth of FTTH/B in Europe even in times of the economic downturn," says Karel Helsen, president of the FTTH Council Europe. "With Slovakia as the only new entrant in the Global Ranking, we have now 14 European countries in this important benchmark of FTTH/B development. Nevertheless, big countries like France, U.K., and Germany are still missing and 2 million subscribers in Europe is still a small number compared to 6 million in North America and more than 30 million in Asia-Pacific. We will therefore continue our efforts to communicate the advantages of FTTH/B to accelerate the deployment of fiber networks in Europe."

"It is good to see that APAC countries continue to lead in FTTH deployments," Yoon Kun Loke, president of the FTTH Council APAC, comments. "Governments and service providers realize the need to change from traditional to knowledge-based economies that will bring about both economic and social benefits."

The next update of the FTTH global ranking, reflecting the status of fiber-connected households at the end of 2009, will be presented at the FTTH Council Europe's annual conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on Feb. 24-25, 2010.

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