Fibre deployment for homes in Western Europe continues to grow steadily but lags behind other countries.
The FTTH Council Europe announced at a conference in London that Eastern Europe and Scandinavian countries have reinforced their position as fibre leaders.
FTTH Council Europe revealed that Russia had the highest growth rate with 2.2 million new FTTH (European Fibre to the home) subscribers in the second half of 2012 alone, reaching a total number 7.5 million in the country.. Growing at a rate of 42%, the figure is more than all 27 EU member states combined.
The number of FTTH subscribers In the 27 EU countries, however, grew at a rate of 15% during the second half of 2012.
Over 800,000 subscribers across Europe became FTTH subscribers bring the number of fibre-connected homes to 6.24 million.
France and Portugal contributed 30% to the number of new subscribers, followed by Eastern European economies with 33%, along with Scandinavia, Baltic countries and the Netherlands, contributing 26%.
Lithuania is currently the top fibre nation which has 100% coverage of FTTH and over 31% of homes connected to fibre. Sweden takes second place with 22.6% of homes having FTTH subscriptions.
"Eastern Europe and Scandinavian countries have reinforced their position as fibre leaders, and the disparity between the early and late adopters is becoming even more apparent," said Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe. "These FTTH leaders are gaining an economic advantage over their less well-connected neighbours."
Many major Western economies are lagging behind in fibre investment. Italy and Spain were at the bottom of the FTTH ranking. Germany and the UK failed to even qualify to be ranked.
The UK currently has less than 0.1% of fibre connected homes.
"Good communications infrastructure helps to retain existing businesses and attract new ones," added Ahl. "Fibred-up nations can make a head start on deploying new services like remote health care and smart grid technologies. Countries that delay the roll out of FTTH are looking at a serious lost opportunity to prepare for their economic future."