As markets globally continue to grapple with how, when and where to deploy fiber-based networks in order to serve the growing connectivity needs of businesses and households, one small Nordic country appears to be leading the way in terms of household penetration: Iceland.
Iceland does not generally feature in the usual rankings of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments by household penetration primarily because of its size. For example, the FTTH Council Europe only includes economies with at least 200,000 households; Iceland, however, has only 124,000 households,
according to Statistica, and a population of around 330,000 according to 2015 figures from the World Bank.
Statistics provided by home gateway vendor Genexis show that wholesale operator Gagnaveita Reykjavikur (Reykjavik Fibre Network) -- which also partnered with Cisco as equipment provider for the network in early 2016 -- has now connected 80,000 homes with fiber that can enable gigabit broadband. Seven service providers are now active on the company's network.
That represents the majority of fiber connections in Iceland, which overall has a 75% household penetration rate, placing it well above the markets that feature at the top of the FTTH Council Europe ranking. For example, the latest ranking published in February 2016 placed Lithuania top in Europe with a household penetration rate of 36.8%.
Still, the penetration level is impressive, especially as FTTH in Iceland is enabled mostly by single-mode fiber point-to-point architecture. Data from the FTTH Council Europe indicates that markets such as South Korea and Singapore have penetration rates greater than 70% but much of that is from fiber-to-the-building deployments, while the UAE has around the same level of penetration as Iceland with FTTH connectivity (using a GPON architecture).
In Iceland's capital, fiber is ubiquitous. Gagnaveita Reykjavikur offers 100% FTTH connectivity in Reykjavik, and plans to provide 100% connectivity to surrounding towns by 2018. It has already indicated that 10Gbit/s speeds are available if required.
The network company is also expanding further into the corporate sector in order to connect more businesses, government buildings and organizations to fiber, with the ultimate objective of supporting smart cities and the Internet of Things.
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