The number of fixed subscriptions has developed steadily in 2015

There were a total of 1.73 million fixed network broadband subscriptions at the end of 2015. Compared with the year before, the figure fell by approximately 2 per cent.

Of these subscriptions, 86 per cent were used by households and 14 per cent by corporate customers. As the number of subscriptions has not increased significantly in recent years, the current number of fixed broadband subscriptions can be regarded as fairly stable. At the same time, the number of mobile subscriptions used for data transfers only has increased, with there already being more than two million subscriptions in total. In fact, some Finnish people are using their mobile broadband subscription for data transfers only.


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Figure: The number of fixed broadband subscriptions

Fixed broadband subscription technologies have become more modern in recent years. At the end of 2015, slower DSL subscriptions made up 37 per cent of all fixed network subscriptions. Faster VDSL subscriptions based mainly on optical fibre connections represented 12 per cent of all subscriptions.

Ethernet subscriptions where optical fibre extends at least to the boundary of the premises accounted for 21 per cent of all subscriptions. In addition, modern DOCSIS 3 subscriptions in the cable network made up 19 per cent, and FTTH subscriptions based on optical fibre only accounted for 5 per cent of all fixed broadband subscriptions at the end of the year.

Even though the number of fixed network broadband subscriptions has remained fairly unchanged, changes, even significant ones, are continuously taking place in connection technologies and speeds. The number of subscriptions based wholly or partly on optical fibre has increased steadily in recent years. At the same time, the number of DSL subscriptions based on telephone connections in the old copper network is decreasing.

Even though the number of high-speed VDSL subscriptions increased by nearly one third in 2015, the number of other DSL subscriptions decreased much more notably. Compared with the situation four years ago, the number of these types of DSL subscriptions has nearly halved.


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Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions by connection technology

One of the most significant changes in fixed broadband technologies during 2015 was the relative growth in FTTH subscriptions. Even though the total number of these subscriptions is still fairly small, their number increased by 20,000 subscriptions during the year. This means an increase of one third compared with the situation in the year before as there were 82,000 FTTH subscriptions at the end of the year.

Even though the number of FTTH subscriptions built with optical fibre that extends all the way to the user is still relatively small, up to 24 per cent of all fixed broadband subscriptions, however, offered speeds of at least 100 Mbps. This situation, together with the number of Ethernet and VDSL subscriptions, shows that optical fibre connections extend to hundreds of thousands of Finnish people, albeit not all the way to the indoor socket.

During 2015, the number of subscriptions of more than 100 Mbps increased by more than 60,000 subscriptions. At the same time, the number of subscriptions of 2–10 Mbps decreased roughly by the same number. However, the total number of subscriptions has remained fairly unchanged, meaning that operators are upgrading their customers’ subscriptions to offer higher speeds, while customers are acquiring faster and faster subscriptions.

At the end of 2015, of all fixed broadband subscriptions:

  • 24 per cent offered speeds of at least 100 Mbps
  • 32 per cent offered speeds of at least 30 Mbps
  • 77 per cent offered speeds of at least 10 Mbps.


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Figure: Fixed broadband subscriptions by connection speed

The number of fixed telephone subscriptions continued to decrease

In recent years, the number of fixed telephone subscriptions has decreased steadily. At the end of 2015, there were only 540,000 landline telephone subscriptions, which is 100,000 subscriptions fewer than in the year before. Of these subscriptions, 55 per cent were used by companies and 45 per cent by household customers. The proportion of corporate customers among the total number of subscriptions is increasing annually. The number of subscriptions among both customer groups is decreasing, but household customers are cancelling their landline telephone subscriptions at a faster pace than corporate customers.

Of all fixed telephone subscriptions, there were more than 16,000 VoIP telephone subscriptions operating with a broadband connection at the end of the year. While this figure increased by 28 per cent during the year, VoIP subscriptions still represent a marginal phenomenon in Finland. For example, the number of VoIP subscriptions in other Nordic countries is many times more than in Finland. This difference can partly be explained by differing productisation because subscription packages compiled of fixed network services are much more common elsewhere in Europe.

This article is a part of FICORA's Communications Sector Review 1/2016.


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


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