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21 February 2012
The annual publication of the European FTTH Rankings – a league table of nations where more than 1% of households subscribe to fibre connections – shows that deployment and adoption of FTTH are growing, but not as fast as policy makers or the industry would like.
The number of fibre-connected households in the EU35 was up 28% year on year to reach 5.1 million at the end of 2011, while the number of homes passed grew 41% to reach 28 million, according to data collected by research firm iDATE for the FTTH Council Europe.  Including Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the number of fibre subscribers in Europe now exceeds 10.2 million.
 “It is good to see that FTTH adoption continues to grow, even in times of economic uncertainty,” said Hartwig Tauber, director general of the FTTH Council Europe. “However, additional efforts are required to bring Europe on track to reach the Digital Agenda 2020 ultra-fast broadband targets with fibre-enabled connections.”
Progress varies dramatically by country. The latest data show that Scandinavian countries, while still leaders in Europe, are rapidly being overtaken by Eastern European economies. 
Lithuania remains in the lead with about 28% FTTH/B penetration, while Norway moved up into second place (nearly 15%), relegating Sweden to third place (about 14%).
The movers and shakers are Bulgaria, which progressed from eighth to fourth position, and Russia, which leaped from 14th position up to seventh.
At the bottom of the table, both France and Italy were overtaken by the Czech Republic, which can now boast one of the highest take-rates (subscribers taking the service where it is available) for FTTH anywhere in Europe: 42%.
No new countries joined the ranking in 2011, which means that once again Germany and the UK failed to qualify.  On a more positive note, however, Spain is making good progress (184% growth year on year), and is expected to join the ranking in the near future.
(Note: The EU35 includes the 27 European member states plus Andorra, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.)
By Pauline Rigby