Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:50

Australia lags in take-up, penetration of fibre in APAC region Featured

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Australia lags in take-up, penetration of fibre in APAC region Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia lags well behind Asia Pacific markets like Singapore, China and South Korea in the take-up and penetration of fibre to the home/building (FttH/B) services, according to a newly published report.

The FttH Market Panorama report on the rollout of fibre from the FttH Council Asia-Pacific shows Australia sitting in 11th position for fibre with a penetration/take-up rate of 14.3% compared to a whopping 92.7% for Singapore, 80.1% for China and 77.5% for South Korea.

And even New Zealand has achieved fibre penetration of 51.8%, while behind market leader China, Thailand and the Philippines have rates of 35% and 28%.   

Collectively, fibre take-up rate across the APAC countries is now at 77.6%, which is 10.1 percentage points higher than the previous year.

And in comparison with 2014, the number of subscribers has quadrupled and the number of homes passed has grown by a factor of 1.7.

By December 2018, the 21 APAC countries under study had reached almost 550 million homes with FttH/B networks representing coverage of 61.5% compared to the total number of homes.

China maintains its peak position, representing 74% of the total FttH/B homes passed in the APAC region.

The highest annual growth rates were seen in Thailand (+35%), the Philippines (+28%), Sri Lanka (+25%), Kazakhstan (+24.9%) and Indonesia (+24.6%), while the largest increase in subscribers was seen in the Philippines (+168.6%), followed by Bangladesh (+149.6%), Indonesia (+59.5%), Thailand (+37%) and New Zealand (+30.2%).

The FttH Council says PON (Passive Optical Network) is clearly the preferred connectivity technology across the APAC region, with FTTH GPON remaining the norm for fibre networks in APAC.

Compared to other regions, the council says there is a high proportion of MDUs (Multi Dwelling Units) as a consequence of high population densities.

“Furthermore, LTE is becoming increasingly mature across the region, with South Korea, Japan and city-countries are leading the way and China playing an essential role. LTE is also spreading in less advanced markets thanks to a wide range of drivers, such as increased competition, dropping prices, and a generation of young digital users,” the FttH Council notes.

The report also reveals that some two-thirds of around 64% of all homes in the region have been passed by alternative ISPs, with the remainder covered by incumbents.

According to the report, homes passed by FttH networks are expected to increase by 18% (~649 million homes) by 2023, while FTTH subscribers will grow by 35% (~576 million subscriptions) - at first, mainly taking place in the most densely populated countries.

“Across the region, public-private initiatives and National Broadband initiatives are fuelling growth,” says Venkatesan Babu, President, FTTH Council Asia-Pacific.

“Alternative players are taking a leading role in FttH/B alternatives. Continued migration away from copper and 5G will be a key factor in promoting fibre deployments, boosting investments from public and private players.

“These latest figures show a continued accelerated momentum. Full fibre is the way forward and the results of the Panorama provide compelling evidence of this. Fibre expansion is booming in many countries and today more consumers are aware of the benefits of fibre. However, there is still a long way to go until every citizen and business has access to the benefits of full fibre.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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