FTTH Conference 2023 preview: what’s next for fibre?


Every year, the FTTH Conference covers the key challenges and opportunities for the fibre industry, from a variety of angles, from the perspective of regulatory bodies, investment funds, and leading operators across Europe. This year’s edition is held in Spain, a mature market in terms of FTTH deployment1.


1As described in the FTTH/B Market Panorama 2022 report

“This offers an opportunity to reflect on the lessons we can learn from the successful fibre rollout seen in this country and the next steps our industry needs to undertake when network deployment is nearly completed,” Explains Vincent Garnier. “Stimulating adoption of fibre and fibre-enabled services is at the top of the list. We’ll be reflecting on the most effective strategies to accelerate take-up, from business and regulatory perspectives. Particular attention will also be given to sustainability and the need to rapidly adapt corporate strategies to the climate and energy crisis by reducing energy consumption and lowering our carbon footprint.”

Vincent Garnier

FTTH Council Europe Director

Talent management are also part of the conference agenda, with a dedicated panel session on how to attract and retain skilled labour in a time of shortage for the industry, and the announcement of the brand new “Champion of Diversity Award”. The programme also features the usual focuses on key European markets, recent policy and regulation initiatives, and deep dives into technology developments (10G and beyond, decommissioning copper networks, future applications that will run on fibre networks, the importance of in-home connectivity…).

Vincent: “Figures for 2022 will also be presented at the conference. We can anticipate a continuation of the growth rate we’ve seen in the last few years in terms of coverage, with point-to-multipoint technology being Europe’s top deployment choice. Fibre rollouts are advancing steadily, each country at its own pace, and progress versus 2021 is tangible. Looking at development of networks across Europe, we officially passed the 50% coverage threshold in 2021: more than one in two households in Europe now has access to full fibre connections. However, this also means that there’s still a long wat to go until we reach full coverage. Areas still to be fibreised are mainly in Germany, Italy, and the UK, accounting for 60% of the remaining potential for network infrastructure deployment. Filling this gap will be crucial for Europe to reach its objective of bringing gigabit connectivity to every household by 2020.

“It is worth pointing out that only about half of the households reached by the infrastructure subscribe to internet fibre-based internet services, which translates into a big gap between having access to a full fibre network and effectively benefiting from it by engaging in a fibre subscription. Therefore, the FTTH Council Europe sees fibre adoption as the main challenge for the industry. In most countries, rural areas have lower coverage and come last in deployment plans. However, underserved locations have been attracting alternative operators with very agile business models, that focus their efforts there as incumbents and large players are very often focusing on urban areas.”


“Copper switch-off will play a major role with regards to fibre take-up, which is why we continue to advocate for decommissioning plans to be put in place as soon as possible. A study that we are releasing in February on demand drivers confirms that clear plans for copper switch-off can represent a key lever to boost fibre adoption and get additional benefits across the board, as it can benefit service providers and consumers alike. It would also provide great benefits in terms of sustainability, taking aging copper and increasing energy costs out of the equation: a clear benefits for operators migrating towards FTTH/B. In several countries operators have put forward clear copper switch-off plans with concrete dates - a very positive trend. We welcome the fact that BEREC will continue to focus on this topic in 2023, with a dedicated internal workshop focusing on end-user needs. The FTTH Council Europe has always insisted that the transition towards FTTH/B needs to be well prepared, so that no citizen or business is left behind. Regulators will play a key role in ensuring this. Unfortunately, we have seen FTTC and copper providers in some markets using the word “fibre” in advertising, resulting in consumer confusion. Therefore, clear advertising rules are much needed. When it comes to price differentials, low price gaps between copper and FTTH/B makes adoption faster and easier.”

“Today, it is widely recognised that the future relies on FTTH. There is still much work to do, however, before everyone can enjoy fibre connectivity: bringing networks to regions that are not yet covered and ensuring fibre is actually chosen by end subscribers should be the top priorities for the industry in 2023. The FTTH Council Europe’s mission is to help all stakeholders accomplish these goals, and find actionable solutions to address the challenges ahead for them. I am confident we will be able to deliver on this.”

The FTTH Council Europe identifies several key drivers for fibre optic network deployment beyond FTTx:

High-speed internet demand - internet usage continues to grow, and fibre networks can provide faster and more reliable connectivity to support increased demand for high-speed internet services

5G and IoT - Deployment of 5G networks and growth of IoT are driving the need for fibre to support the increased bandwidth and low latency requirements of these technologies

Cloud computing - As more businesses and organizations move data and applications to the cloud, fibre networks are needed to support the increased data transfer requirements of these services

Data centre – Consequently, the growth of data centres and the need for high-speed, low-latency connectivity between them is also driving the deployment of fibre

Government initiatives – All European countries are investing in full fibre as part of their national broadband plans, to meet the European Commission’s 2023 targets for the digital transformation of Europe. Among other initiatives, the aim is to provide gigabit connectivity to all citizens

Smart cities and communities – Fibre is a key enabler for smart cities and communities, allowing for the deployment of sensors, cameras, and other devices for improving public safety, traffic management, and other services

Additional services and applications – Numerous new services and applications are running, or will soon run, on fibre networks. At the FTTH Conference 2023, a dedicated panel session on this subject will feature high-level speakers from ITU, Microsoft and Analysis Mason.

The synergy between FTTx and 5G

5G potentially brings a much higher level of antenna density and, therefore, requires a fibre transport network similar to FTTH. This prompted the Deployment and Operations committee of the FTTH Council Europe to explore potential synergies between 5G and FTTH network deployments, resulting in a white paper – to be published soon - that consolidates and updates Committee studies from 2019 and 20202 , which analyse the benefits of a converged approached to 5G and FTTH roll out.

  • Increased network capacity - By deploying 5G-ready fibre alongside FTTx, network operators can increase network capacity to support growing demand for high-speed internet and 5G services
  • Reduced costs - Deploying 5G-ready fibre and FTTx at the same time also enables network operators to reduce the overall costs of deploying the two technologies separately
  • Future-proofing - By deploying 5G-ready fibre, network operators can also ensure that their networks will be able to support 5G services in the future, without the need for costly upgrades
  • Improved reliability - 5G-ready fibre networks can provide more reliable and low-latency connectivity, which is essential for 5G services such as IoT, Smart cities and autonomous driving



Prysmian Group is proud to be an FTTH Conference 2023 Platinum Sponsor.



2Fibre for 5G: the story of convergence and Fibre for 5G: the story of convergence - update 2020