ITEM: Singapore remains the most fiber-rich country on the planet, with South Korea, China, the UAE, Qatar, and Japan not far behind. In all cases, the key driver is strong national broadband plans with ambitious targets around ultra-high-speed services.
That’s according to Omdia’s Global Fiber Development 2022 Index, in which Singapore achieved maximum scores in seven of nine metrics, including fiber to the premises coverage, penetration of fiber to households businesses and mobile cell sites, and media download/upload speeds, latency and jitter.
Singapore has a fiber plan
According to Omdia, the countries scoring highest on the index highlight the importance of fiber deployment strategies and the need for countries lower on the index to accelerate them. Put simply, the further down the list you go, the more you see countries whose fiber broadband plans are either vague, lacking in ambition, or both.
On the bright side, said Michael Philpott, research director of Network X, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a partial role in demonstrating just how important broadband networks in supporting sudden spikes in demand for things like remote working and e-commerce. That experience has convinced many governments to strengthen their broadband targets and increasing their focus and investments in fiber-based infrastructure.
“Fiber investment is an essential metric for government institutions and other stakeholders to track. As a broadband-access technology, optical fiber provides an optimized, highly sustainable, and future-proof quality service,” Philpott said.
“With increased efficiency stimulating greater innovation, high-speed broadband has been proven to drive not just consumer satisfaction but national economic indicators such as GDP and productivity. Only by maximizing investment in next-generation access can countries optimize their growth potential, and fiber-optic technology is key to that investment.”
Policy reforms needed
The index illustrated the point by noting that this is why the UK is further down the list than many less developed countries, ranking 53rd out of 88 countries.
“The UK Government’s manifesto commitment was to deliver nationwide gigabit-broadband (FTTP) by 2025, which was revised in November 2020 to a minimum of 85% of premises by 2025,” the report said. “In February 2022, the UK set a new target for nationwide gigabit-broadband to be available by 2030. In comparison, Singapore is already claiming full FTTP coverage, where it is treated as ‘strategic infrastructure.”
“Countries, such as the UK … may need to consider policy reforms to ensure that it is easy to deploy infrastructure and that competition in the market remains high in light of mergers taking place,” Philpott said.
Philpott and a team of Omdia analysts will be presenting the index finding in more detail at the Network X event later this month.