Global Broadband Subscribers Q1 22, European Broadband Mapping, Open Networks R&D Fund, plus ISP, government, and Ofcom updates
Point Topic’s July publications featured the release of our statistical analyses of Global Broadband Subscribers Q1 2022. Point Topic also released our European broadband mapping coverage for both Greece and Sweden, with both countries outperforming the national EU average on both the national and rural levels in terms of fixed broadband coverage.
On 13 June, DCMS released its UK Digital Strategy which outlines a new single vision to grow the digital economy whilst addressing tech sector skills, investment, and infrastructure. Supporting the expansion of the digital economy, the government reports, could grow the UK tech sector’s annual GVA by an additional £41.5bn by 2025, and create a further 678,000 jobs. On 4 July, DCMS updated the Digital Strategy to include an infographic on visa routes for digital employers which helps to explain the information on visa routes related to digital skills discussed in section 3.6 (digital skills and talent). Securing and retaining skilled workers from the UK, EU, and overseas countries remains an area of very significant concern for UK broadband suppliers. However, the guidance produced by DCMS only provides clarification of visa routes as opposed to offering an easing in legislation for the free movement of international digital workers.
On 19 July, Simon Blagden CBE was announced as the new Chair of Building Digital UK. Simon has 30 years’ experience in the IT, telecoms and digital industry. For 14 years he was non-executive Chairman at Fujitsu Telecommunications UK. The role will last for four years.
On 26 July, DCMS announced its Future Open Networks Research Challenge which will see universities and telecoms firms being able to apply for up to £25m to research and develop the next generation of 5G and 6G network equipment as part of new government plans to unleash innovation in the sector. The Government is accelerating the development of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology - which allows operators to mix and match equipment rather than relying on a single supplier when building or maintaining networks - as part of its £250 million Open Networks R&D Fund. It aims to build more secure and resilient broadband and mobile infrastructure by boosting competition and innovation within the telecoms supply chain.
This collaboration, together with other steps that the Government is taking through its Diversification Strategy, aims to meet the Government and UK mobile network operators’ joint ambition to carry 35% of the UK’s mobile network traffic over open and interoperable RAN architectures by 2030. The Government will invest through a series of competitions and challenges with funding made available until the end of March 2025. These activities will encourage greater collaboration towards addressing key barriers including power efficiency, spectrum management, software platforms, systems integration and security - ensuring that the development of innovative telecoms solutions meet the performance and security requirements of mobile network operators and other network builders.
Ofcom produced several key telecoms sector data analyses throughout July. On 13 July, the regulator published data on Q1 2022 Telecoms and pay TV complaints, followed by on 18 July with the Telecoms data (within the Communications Market Report 2022). On 28 July Ofcom released its Telecommunications Market Data Update Q1 2022, which outlined telecommunications data revenues, volumes and market share for the first quarter.
Key telecoms findings within Ofcom’s Communication Market Report 2022, included:
The UK telecoms sector generated £31.1bn in revenue in 2021, a 4% decline year-on-year.
There were 27.7 million UK fixed broadband connections at the end of 2021, a 1% increase year-on-year.
Two-thirds (67%) of broadband connections were provided using fibre technologies at the end of 2021; 60% being FTTC, with full fibre accounting for 7% of all connections, a 50% increase year-on-year.
In Q1 2022, the quarterly fixed broadband subscriber growth rate stood at 1.7 per cent, with the number of connections reaching 1.3 bn. Similarly to Q4 2021, the growth rate was slightly lower than in the respective quarter a year ago.
Fixed broadband subscriber numbers grew in 90 per cent of the 131 countries covered in this report.
The share of FTTH in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase and stood at 58 per cent. Superfast and ultrafast cable broadband connections followed with an 17 per cent share. Connections over all other technologies lost market shares to fibre.
Between Q1 2022 and Q4 2021, the number of copper lines fell by 9.8 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 13.5 per cent.
China added 14 million, Brazil 1.1 million and France a million fibre broadband subscriptions.
The largest broadband market of East Asia has recovered its share of net additions to fixed broadband subscribers – it stood at 71 per cent compared to 52 per cent in the previous quarter (Figure 1). With China dominating East Asia in terms of the market size, this regional recovery was mainly due to much higher broadband subscriber net adds in the country in Q1 2022 compared to Q4 2021. As a result, the share of adds in Asia – Other has dropped from 25 per cent to 11 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In Q1 2022, we recorded negative net adds in Eastern Europe due to the significant quarterly fall in fixed broadband subscribers in Ukraine.
Other key players announcements along with the month’s news round-up can be found below.
BT Group News
Virgin Media O2 (VM02) News
CityFibre (CF) News
Independent Operators (AltNets) News
Other key news items throughout the month
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