VALENCIA, SPAIN — Fiber-based connectivity is transforming and enhancing the way we live, do business and interact, according to a new study, The Socio-economic Benefits of Fiber, released by the FTTH Council Europe and carried out by WIK.

The objective was to identify more precisely the impact of fiber from the perspective of the end-users based on actual consumer experience.

Background and Main Findings:
The study analyses the socio-economic benefits of FTTH in two countries, Sweden and The Netherlands. It uses case-studies and a representative survey of 1,018 Swedish consumers.

Swedish consumers are more satisfied with fiber, non-FTTH users want fiber.
Responses to the survey lead to the conclusion that for the majority of FTTH users fiber is about higher speed and better value for money.

  • 87 percent of the FTTH subscribers mention high bandwidth as the primary reason for purchasing a FTTH connection.
  • 62 percent are satisfied about the higher range of services they get with FTTH.
  • 51 percent are of the view that fiber provides for a better value for money.

The degree of satisfaction of FTTH end-users is substantially higher than recorded for any other Internet access technology in Sweden. It reaches 83 percent whereas other technologies such as DSL or cable are respectively reported at 52 percent and 72 percent.

It is also worth noting that 94 percent of non-FTTH users would consider subscribing to FTTH if it was made available in their area.

FTTH has a positive impact on the economy and society
The study also looked at the impact of fiber on the economy and society leading to the following conclusions:

  • In Europe, FTTH/B infrastructure is proven to have a positive impact on the environment with 88 percent less greenhouse gas emissions per Gigabit compared to other access technologies.
  • In France, 4.8 percent more start-ups were created in municipalities equipped with ultrafast broadband compared to the ones with slower access.
  • Fiber is playing a role in tackling the demographic challenge in Nuenen (The Netherlands), where the second case study was conducted, the development of fibre allowed the use of new services like “domotica” and home automation helping elderly citizens connected by the FTTH network in the area.
  • Agriculture is one of the sectors where the degree of digitization is accelerating the use of smart farming allowing the monitoring and reporting of manure and fine dust emissions and efficiency gains in the day-to-day business.

“Given that Scandinavian and Baltic countries are leading the way on FTTH/B penetration, it was particularly interesting to study the perspective of end-users in Sweden. The migration process (from another technology to FTTH) started in Sweden in 2007 and is already quite advanced, and the shares of subscriptions that rely on other technologies such as DSL and cable have decreased over the same period. This transition provided a large quantity of data to analyse and the opinion of the end-users and their degree of satisfaction were therefore crucial in understanding what triggers end-users to choose fiber and how they use fiber connectivity,” explained Ronan Kelly, president of the FTTH Council Europe.

“At the FTTH Council Europe, we are convinced of the benefits of fiber for citizens, businesses and the economy as a whole,” added Erzsébet Fitori, director general of the FTTH Council Europe. “FTTH is the only future-proof foundational infrastructure that will enable the new technologies and services we cannot even imagine, yet, and continuously adds value to end-users. It contributes to the protection of the environment, improvement of health and facilitates access to education and allows remote working in particular in less dense areas. We believe in a sustainable future, enabled by fibre and for this European policy-makers should foster fiber roll-out by striking the right balance between investment incentives and ensuring a competitive market.”