UAE joins worldwide top ten for FTTH penetration

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first country in the Middle East to enter the Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) Global Rankings compiled by three FTTH Councils (North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific).

The country is reported to now have more than 1% of households subscribing to broadband services which are delivered via a fibre connection which goes all the way to their building or home - indeed, the UAE is described as having "rocketed" past this threshold, recording a FTTH/B penetration rate of 30.8% at the end of September 2010.

This is attributed mainly to large construction projects in the region: Etisalat has committed itself to making Abu Dhabi the world's first city in the world which is wholly covered by FTTH by the end of this year, while du (which operates in separate regions from Etisalat) has been connecting major new residential areas in Dubai.

“Although FTTH/B in the Middle East is still in its infancy, telecoms operators can see the potential,” said Faris Awartani, Chair of the FTTH Council Europe Middle East Working Group. “We have seen encouraging announcements in 2010, and expect more Middle East countries to enter the Ranking over the next few years.”

According to research carried out by IDATE on behalf of the FTTH Council Europe Middle East Working Group, other countries in the Middle East have much less well-developed FTTH markets: the UAE is described as representing 96% of the region's FTTH/H subscribers and 76% of all homes passed by fibre.