(TOKYO) - The number of countries where fiber to the home connections are showing significant gains in the broadband services market continues to expand, according to an updated global ranking issued today by the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Councils of Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

The new ranking, released today at the FTTH Council Europe's annual conference in Paris and based on statistics gathered at the end of 2007, lists 14 economies where more than one percent of households are connected directly into high speed fiber optic networks. On the three councils' first-ever ranking, released last July, 11 economies exceeded the 1 percent threshold. Slovenia, Iceland and Singapore were the new entries on the list.

Globally, 2007 was the best year yet in terms of numbers of new subscribers to FTTH services, thanks primarily to strong growth in Japan, China and the United States, where a total of nearly 6 million new FTTH households were added for the three countries.

"What this indicates is the unrelenting vigor of the FTTH industry here in Europe - where we surpassed one million connections - and worldwide," said Joeri Van Bogaert, President of the FTTH Council Europe. "This phenomenon is driven by something that never slows down, and that is the consumer appetite for ever-higher bandwidth."

The updated ranking shows that Asian economies continue to outpace the rest of the world in terms of FTTH market penetration, with South Korea moving into the top slot with 31.4 percent of households connected, followed by Hong Kong at 23.4 percent and Japan at 21.3%.

A large gap separates third place Japan from fourth place Sweden, where 7.1 percent of homes are wired with FTTH, followed closely by Taiwan at 6.8 percent and Norway at 6 percent. Denmark, at 2.5 percent occupies seventh position on the chart.

The United States, by more than doubling its penetration rate to 2.3 percent, moved up three places to eighth position, followed by two of the three countries making their first appearance on the chart, Slovenia at 1.8 percent and Iceland at 1.5 percent. The People's Republic of China moved from tenth to eleventh place as direct fiber connections in that country moved up slightly to 1.5 percent.

Netherlands, Italy and Singapore rounded out the list with market penetration rates ranging from 1.1 to 1.4 percent.

The three regional FTTH Councils joined together last year to create this official global FTTH ranking in order to provide the telecommunications industry, governments and regulators with a unique snapshot of international fiber access penetration.

"We're delighted to see the U.S. moving up the global ranking, indicating a good beginning is underway. FTTH leadership, demonstrated by those leading countries, shows full national deployment is achievable" said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council North America. "The future belongs to those countries that satisfy the broadband consumer's need for speed. Our members - the FTTH equipment vendors and the service providers - are ready to help make it happen on a wide scale across North America."

"It is no accident that Asia-Pac continues to be the fastest growing region for FTTH in the world, with more subscribers connected on fiber than all other regions combined," said Schoichi Hanatani, President of the FTTH Council Asia-Pacific. "The rollout of FTTH has been encouraged by forward-looking governments and regulators in the Asia-Pac region for several years now. They understand that FTTH is a key strategic national infrastructure."

The global ranking follows the unified definition of FTTH terms announced by the three councils last year, and which has formed the basis for recent market research by each council. For completeness and accuracy the ranking includes both FTTH and FTTB (fiber-to-the-building) figures, while copper-based broadband access technologies (DSL, FTT-Curb, FTT-Node) are not included.

About the FTTH Council Europe
The FTTH Council Europe www.ftthcouncil.eu is a market development organisation with a mission to accelerate the availability of fibre-based, broadband access networks to consumers and businesses. With few exceptions, Europe lags well behind the US and Asian tiger economies in the availability of high-speed broadband services (100 Mbps and upwards). The Council believes that the development of fibre-based access networks is fundamental to the deployment of such services, and hence to reaping their benefits for European citizens and businesses. The Council's charter is to work with European governments, policy-makers and opinion leaders qualify and quantify the benefits to be gained from fibre-based broadband access networks, and to identify and help to erode the barriers to their development. Council members are drawn from the telecoms (vendors), broadband content and academic sectors.

About the FTTH Council Asia-Pacific
The FTTH Council Asia-Pacific www.ftthcouncilap.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, promote and accelerate FTTH and the resulting economic and quality-of-life enhancements across the Asia-Pacific region. Formally registered in February 2005, and with over 40 member organisations spread across the Asia-Pac region; this Council maintains close links with sister organisations in Europe and North America. The Council is a group of leading telecom, networking, and infrastructure companies whose mandate is to promote the extension of fiber access across the Asia Pacific region including Greater China, Korea, Japan, SE Asia, India, Thailand and Australia

About the FTTH Council North America
Now in its seventh year, the Fiber-to-the-Home Council is a non-profit organization established to help its members plan, market, implement and manage FTTH solutions. Council membership includes municipalities, utilities, developers, and traditional and non-traditional service providers, creating a cohesive group to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber-to-the-home. Communities and organizations interested in exploring FTTH options may find information on the FTTH Council web site at www.ftthcouncil.org.

For more information contact:

FTTH Council Europe
Jennifer Manning/ David Evans
Cohesive Communications
+44 (0) 1291 626200

FTTH Council Asia-Pacific
FTTH Council Asia-Pacific Secretariat

FTTH Council North America
David St. John


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