The switchover from copper-based to completely fibre-based broadband networks in the EU could take 92 years unless the region’s national governments embark on a comprehensive switchover plan, according to UK-based consultancy Ventura Team.
The current migration to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in Europe is described as happening at a “snail’s pace”, and the report warns that this could seriously hinder economic growth across the continent for a long time to come.
“Every technical expert will agree that fibre is the only real technological option capable of meeting the demand for broadband in the long run,” said Stefan Stanislawski, co-author of the study and partner of Ventura Team.
“But in Europe we are still not investing enough money into fibre, and this is not for lack of capital. The industry could fund the switchover itself over a period of 25 years with the right regulations.”
According to the study – which has been funded by the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council Europe – a full switchover resulting in fibre cables laid out to every home in the EU would cost an estimated €261bn in CAPEX. The current rate of telecoms investment into fibre is a “mere” €3 billion a year and that is simply not fast enough, say the authors.
“In our view the telecoms industry must uphold what we call their ‘social contract for timely renewal of assets’,” adds Stanislawski. “In fact, regular telecoms consumers all over Europe are already paying for the switchover to happen over the next 25 years through tariff regulations – except it won’t, unless new regulatory schemes are adopted and enforced.”
To implement the complete switchover to FTTH in a maximum of 25 years, the study advocates a seven-point action plan which includes changing certain regulations, enforcing the existing social contract, changing strategic pricing, updating the concept of universal service, and more.
To download the complete report, click here.