Of all EU countries, Belgium is in last place when it comes to the penetration of fiber in homes. Our country is in for a considerable catch-up race.
The EU average is fifty percent of houses equipped with fiber optics. Belgium is last with a penetration of less than ten percent. This is evident from the Broadband Coverage in Europe report that was recently published.
Please note, these are figures from 2021. In the meantime, both Proximus and Telenet have indicated that they will step up their efforts with regard to the roll-out of fiber optic in our country. Proximus has found investors from banks and the government to also roll out the fiber optic network in more rural areas, where, incidentally, the shoe is pinching in our country. And in turn, Telenet and Fluvius have already indicated that they will be rolling out fiberglass together.
Although the backlog is considerable. For example, Latvia is the country with the highest level of fttp (fiber to the premises) coverage, with almost ninety percent of the homes. Six other countries – Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Romania, Bulgaria and Sweden – achieved an fttp coverage ratio of more than eighty percent.
Across the EU, nine countries are posting double-digit growth in their FTP coverage, including Cyprus, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovakia.
In the report, Belgium is the only country with fttp coverage of less than ten percent, with 9.7 percent of Belgian households having access to fiber. In Belgium, the incumbent has prioritized vdsl upgrades of existing ds; networks rather than investing in the usually more expensive fttp technology.
Belgium is not alone. “A similar strategy was followed by operators in other countries such as Germany, Greece and the United Kingdom, who all registered fttp coverage levels below 25 percent.” Although our country in particular is ready for a catch-up race.