In contrast to its superior ranking in the provision of broadband services via hybrid fixed networks, Switzerland is not a world leader when it comes to fibre to the home (FTTH). But it has made up some ground over recent years: Switzerland now stands in the middle of the European field in terms of rollout and use of optical fibre connections.
Over several years, within a framework of co-operation between Swisscom and local utility providers, FTTH networks have been constructed in numerous cities and regions. In other locations, individual political municipalities are going it alone with investment in FTTH. In addition to cooperation, Swisscom is also currently working alone on investments to modernise the fixed network in many locations. Numerous CATV operators also have constantly invested in fibre expansion.
Swiss Fibre Net (SFN), which joined the market in 2013, is also stimulating competition. SFN is a network consortium consisting of numerous utility providers which have constructed local fibre networks, offers service providers who do not have their own access network (e.g. Init7, 1tv, iWay.ch, GGA Maur, Salt, Sunrise and VTX) the possibility of sourcing uniform FTTH products nationwide via a common platform for resale.
Swiss4net is another company that is investing in the construction and operation of local optical fibre networks. Swiss4net is planning, constructing and financing FTTH networks based on P2P architecture in communes and cities where they can lease the duct installations required from the commune or energy provider. Swiss4net now has at least eight local optical fibre networks (e.g. in Morges, Pully, Chiasso, Ascona, Baden and Wettingen). Various telecom providers deliver their services via the networks operated by Swiss4net.
As far as subscriptions are concerned, we note that the number of optical fibre contracts (FTTH/B) used in Switzerland is rising, while the broadband market is almost saturated with around 4.2 million connections. Growth in the fibre-optic segment is primarily the result of DSL and CATV subscribers migrating to this new technology. Estimated at just over one million, these lines represented almost 27% of all broadband connections in Switzerland at the end of 2022.
This means Switzerland is still slightly behind by international standards: optical fibre penetration in the OECD countries was almost 37.7% on average over the same period. While Switzerland is better positioned than most of its neighbouring countries, such as Italy (18.7%), Germany (9.2%) or Austria (8.3%), only France has a relatively high share of optical fibre contract holders (56.7%), putting it amongst the 15 OECD countries where this share exceeds 50%.
But Switzerland's annual growth in optical fibre contracts (+5.9% between 2021 and 2022) is lower than the average of OECD countries (+12.3%), and significantly lower than its neighbouring countries. Austria recorded growth of 46.8%, Germany 31.1%, Italy 30.9% and France 25.2%.
Last modification 29.11.2023