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Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:03

For cost per Mbit/sec fibre beats copper hands down

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Point Topic has released its latest quarterly benchmark of global broadband tariffs, showing that the cost of fibre services per megabit of bandwidth in one fifth that of services over copper and predicting that European nations will need to accelerate fibre rollouts.

For residential services, Point Topic said: "In Q4 2012 ... the cost per megabit for fibre and cable residential broadband services was comparable at $1.14 and $1.54 respectively. Copper is much more expensive for residents, given the bandwidth that they can expect to receive. The average global cost per megabit for residential copper broadband services was $5.50 in Q4 2012.

Point Topic estimated the average monthly charge for residential broadband services at US$72.52 and the average bandwidth provided by residential services at 36Mbps. This means that the average global cost per megabit was just over $2 at the end of 2012.

Point Topic suggested that growing bandwidth demands would spur fibre build outs. "It is interesting to note that Western Europe – where FTTH/P has failed to gain much of a foothold – continues to offer the lowest average [purchasing power parity] tariff for fibre, most often for a hybrid solution...It remains to be seen whether this position can be maintained."

It notes that "One of the major criticisms of the Western Europe hybrid approach is that beyond 100Mbps supply will be very difficult and expensive. Western Europe may be forced into a second fibre build out earlier than expected, or will find themselves within the slow lane in 3-5 years time."

The relatively high global average cost of services over copper is largely the result of very high tariffs for copper services in areas of the world other than Asia Pacific, where the cost was less than US$2 per mbit/sec, compared to a high of US$24 in Latin America. Costs were above US$15 in south and east Asia, US$14 in the Middle East and US$9 in North America. Western Europe came in at US$2.

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