270 billion EUR will have been invested in fiber rollout across Western Europe by 2030

A grand total of 270 billion EUR will be invested in rolling out full fiber connectivity across Western Europe by 2030. This year will mark the end goal of the EU’s “Digital Decade” ambition that sets a double objective: all European households covered by a Gigabit network, and all populated areas covered by 5G. The peak of yearly investment will be reached next year, totaling a yearly cash influx of EUR 25.8 billion spent on expanding fiber coverage across the region. CAPEX in Germany and the UK will account for two thirds of the year’s investment. By contrast, capital spent on fiber rollout in both countries for 2020 only represented 30% of the cash invested across the region. Fiber rollout on a fast track to completion in France and Southern Europe Among the most advanced markets, we find France and Spain with over 80% of total premises connected to full fiber before the end of the year. Meanwhile, 90% of premises in Portugal are already connected to fiber. The fastest rollout pace in Southern Europe is explained by a much cheaper cost per premises in both Spain and Portugal. This led to several operators investing in the same areas and overlapping fiber networks. In Spain specifically, there is an average of 4.5 fiber networks connected to one premise as of 2023, which formed a highly competitive wholesale landscape. In France, fiber expansion has been coordinated very early on by local authorities, by supporting a very efficient cooperation between the 4 main operators to avoid overbuild and rapidly rollout full fiber networks across the country. As of mid 2023, 36.2 million premises have been collectively connected by French operators, covering around 27.5 million unique premises. In each of those countries, the main focus is already on connecting rural and remote premises, which poses harder technical challenges and requires substantially more money per new premise, all the while ROI decreases compared to dense areas. Germany and the UK gulping most of the investments in the coming years Meanwhile, the situation is very different in countries where cablecos had a historically strong presence and where internet cable offers still have a significant penetration of the broadband market. This partly explains why German-speaking markets, the UK and Benelux are lagging behind in terms of fiber coverage. Bringing fiber to the home is, to say the least, a very cost intensive project, and represents the bulk of operators’ CAPEX across Europe for this decade. But telcos’ liquidities are not enough to support the overall cost of full fiberization in their respective markets and have been looking out for external investors over the past decade. In Germany, the overall cost of fiber rollout is expected to...

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