LIVE FROM BROADBAND WORLD FORUM, BERLIN: Poland was heralded as an example of a European country making large investments to help it meet defined fibre goals during a panel discussion on progress towards the European Commission’s broadband targets for 2020.
Orange Poland CEO Jean-Francois Fallacher (pictured, left) said the dual deployment of 5G and fibre would offer a “very exciting future” for the operator and the country as a whole. Fallacher said Orange had made the rollout a priority, partly as he is a “big believer there will be a complement between 5G and fibre.”
While pointing out there had been questions about Orange’s fibre spend, he added he was “convinced it made sense”.
“People may say ‘why are you deploying fibre when 5G is coming?’, but we believe they will be very complementary.”
While Poland was highlighted as an example of positive progress made towards fibre in Europe, other members of the panel were less convinced by the outlook for the rest of the region.
Hong Kong Broadband Network CTO Gary McLaren said if Europe met its target for fibre rollout, it would put the region on a par with services made available in Hong Kong during 2000.
“When you look at what Hong Kong has today, they are the targets for Europe in 2025,” he said: “We have what is essentially a universal gigabit market. We delivered our network to supply 100Mb/s back in 2000.”
Qatar was another advanced market highlighted as delivering connectivity well in advance of goals being set out for Europe.
Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, CEO of Qatar National Broadband Network, said his market boasted 100 per cent fibre coverage, which is available on a wholesale basis to operators through the state-owned network.
The EC set targets of ubiquitous 30Mb/s broadband by 2020 in all member states and a target of 100Mb/s for at least half of the EU’s population by the same year.