The number of fixed broadband subscriptions fell during the first half of the year

At the end of June 2015, there were a total of 1.73 million fixed broadband subscriptions in Finland. Of these, 85 per cent were used by households and 15 per cent by companies. Compared with the end of 2014, the number of subscriptions has decreased by 1.5 per cent, referring to 30,000 subscriptions.

In recent years, the number of broadband subscriptions has been in a slight increase, but the development seems to have stopped during the first half of 2015. While mobile broadband subscriptions intended for data transfer purposes only increased by 80,000 subscriptions, it can be assumed that this increase has partly caused the decrease in fixed broadband subscriptions. According to the consumer survey conducted by FICORA at the beginning of 2015, 28 per cent of Finnish households only use mobile internet, and this figure has increased by a few percentage points from 2014.

The number of fixed broadband subscriptions used by households, in particular, has increased over the past six years. This trend seems to have changed as the number of subscriptions in households decreased by nearly 10,000 during the first half of the year. According to the recent trend, the number of household subscriptions increases by tens of thousands during the latter half of the year, whereas the figure remains fairly stable during the first half. Therefore, it is possible that the number of subscriptions in households turns to an increase during the latter half of the year.

The number of corporate subscriptions has decreased fairly steadily from 2013 by several percentage points every six months. This decline is affected at least by the poor general economic situation and the transition to mobile broadband.


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Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions in 2009–2015

The number of subscriptions implemented with the DSL technology decreased by more than 70,000 subscriptions

In recent years, the general development of fixed broadband subscriptions has been characterised by the transition from fixed DSL to more modern technologies. Nevertheless, more than half of all fixed broadband subscriptions were DSL subscriptions at the end of June 2015. Cable modem subscriptions account for nearly one quarter of all subscriptions and one out of every five subscriptions operates using the Ethernet technology. FTTH subscriptions based on the optic fibre technology make up 4 per cent of all subscriptions.

2H2014 1H2015 % 1H 2015 Change
2H2014 - 1H2015
Change pcs
DSL 960 000 890 000 52 % -7 % -70 000
Cable modem 390 000 40 000 23 % 2 % 10 000
Ethernet 320 000 340 000 20 % 7 % 20 000
FTTH 60 000 70 000 4 % 10 % 10 000
Other 20 000 20 000 1 % 24 % 0
Total 1760000 1730000 100 % -1,5 %-30 000

Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions by connection technology in 2H 2014 and 1H 2015

During the first half of the year, the number of DSL subscriptions decreased by 70,000, meaning that there were 890,000 DSL subscriptions in Finland at the end of June. Of these, 170,000 were VDSL subscriptions, the number of which increased by 10,000 from the beginning of the year. Therefore, the increase in VDSL technology slows down the decrease in DSL subscriptions.

Measured by the number of subscriptions, the largest growth during the first half of the year was shown by Ethernet subscriptions, with their number increasing by 20,000 subscriptions. In total, there are 340,000 Ethernet subscriptions. Furthermore, the cable modem technology is increasing in fixed broadband subscriptions, with the number of cable modem subscriptions growing by 10,000 during the first half of the year. All in all, there are 400,000 cable modem subscriptions, making it the second largest broadband technology in Finland. At the end of June, there were 70,000 FTTH subscriptions in Finland, showing an increase of 10,000 subscriptions. However, the construction of the optic fibre network is reflected in nearly all technologies. The increase in optic fibre subscriptions can be better understood by reviewing the increase in the number of subscriptions of at least 100 Mbps.


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Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions by technology in 2012–2015

Nearly one-fourth of all subscriptions are high-speed connections of 100 Mbps

Finnish users have switched to ever faster broadband subscriptions. Up to 23 per cent of all fixed subscriptions offer speeds of at least 100 Mbps, and 8 per cent of all subscriptions offer speeds of 30–100 Mbps. At the end of June 2015, nearly half of all subscriptions were in the speed category of 10–30 Mbps. Slower subscriptions of less than 10 Mbps accounted for less than 25 per cent, and the figure keeps decreasing.

During the first half of 2015, the group of high-speed connections of at least 100 Mbps grew the most, showing an increase of more than 10 per cent from the end of last year. As a result there were 400,000 broadband subscriptions of more than 100 Mbps in Finland at the end of June. Furthermore, the number of subscriptions of 30–100 Mbps increased by roughly 10 per cent, with their number being 130,000 subscriptions in June. The majority of all subscriptions, i.e. 800,000 subscriptions, offer speeds of 10–30 Mbps. There were slightly more than 400,000 subscriptions of less than 10 Mbps.

Compared with other Nordic countries, Finland has fewer fixed high-speed broadband subscriptions than average. In Sweden, for example, the number of fast connections of over 30 Mbps per resident is double compared with Finland. In comparison with other EU countries, Finland ranks in the middle of the pack when measured by the use of high-speed broadband subscriptions.


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Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions by speed in 2012–2015

When reviewing the speeds of fixed broadband subscriptions between households and corporate customers, it seems that households use faster connections. Of all consumer customers, one out of every three has a subscription of at least 30 Mbps, whereas one out of every five corporate customers has a similar subscription. Subscriptions of less than 10 Mbps account for more than one-third of all fixed broadband subscriptions of corporate customers, whereas they are used in less than 20 per cent of households.

High connection speeds offer benefits when using IPTV, internet TV and streaming services. This may explain why consumer customers acquire faster connections than corporate customers. There are also differences in the productisation of subscriptions offered to consumer and corporate customers. This also has an impact on the speeds used by these two customer groups.


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Figure: Speeds of fixed broadband subscriptions used by consumer and corporate customers 1H 2015.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 3/2015.


Key words: Internet, Broadband, Speed, Articles, Reviews, Statistics


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