High-speed networks and services at a fixed location - 1st quarter 2023

Executive Summary

High-speed services at a fixed location subscribed to by 85.7% of households

At the end of the first quarter of 2023 (1Q2023), the number of residential customers for high speed fixed services reached 3.6 million, 200 thousand more than last year, representing an annual increase of 6.0% (+7.6% in 1Q2022). It should be noted that around nine out of ten new high-speed customers have subscribed to a fibre-based service (FTTH). By the end of the reporting period, 85.7% of households had already subscribed to high-speed fixed services1. Higher than average penetration was recorded in the regions of Lisbon (98.1%), Azores (95.5%), Madeira (93.2%) and Algarve (90.9%). Particularly noteworthy was the increase in penetration in the Algarve, which rose from 80.8% at the end of 1Q2022 to 90.9% at the end of 1Q2023, representing an increase of 19.6 thousand residential customers of high-speed fixed services in this region of the country.

There were about 629 thousand non-residential accesses, 8.2% more than in the same period last year, a lower growth than in 1Q2022 (+11.2%). About 62.6% of these accesses are concentrated in the North or in the Lisbon region (33.1% and 29.5%, respectively).

89% of accesses with download speeds ≥100 Mbps

By the end of 2022, 89.0% of fixed broadband accesses were ultrafast broadband accesses (i.e. download speed2 greater than or equal to 100 Mbps), an increase of 2.8 p.p. compared to last year. Broadband lines with download speeds between 100 Mbps and 400 Mbps accounted for 48.5% (-6.8 p.p. compared to last year), 33.7% had speeds between 400 Mbps and 1 Gbps (+6.2 p.p. compared to 2021) and lines with speeds greater than or equal to 1 Gbps accounted for 6.8% (+3.4 p.p.).

Leading EU27 countries

In July 2022, according to the European Commission, Portugal was the 4th EU27 country with the highest proportion of connections with download speeds of 100 Mbps or more (87.4%).

High-speed networks with 94.2% coverage, in a context of inter-regional convergence

It is estimated that at least 6.1 million households were connected to a high-speed network, 1.8% more than in the same period last year. The growth was lower than a year ago (3.2% y-o-y). High-speed network coverage was 94.2%, 1.6 percentage points higher than in 1Q2022.

At regional level, the Lisbon metropolitan area, Madeira and the Azores had above-average penetration rates. On the other hand, there was an increase in the number of cabled households in the Algarve (+4.2%), the Centre (+3.3%) and the North (+1.8%), regions where the coverage of high-speed networks has come closer to the national average, thus strengthening territorial cohesion. It is estimated that around 68.9% of homes and businesses covered by cable were actually used for residential and non-residential services, 2.9 percentage points more than in the same period last year.

Fibre to the home up by 2.2% in the last twelve months

The number of homes with fibre to the home (FTTH) grew to around 5.9 million, up 2.2% year-on-year (4.7% in 1Q2022), reaching a coverage rate of 92.3%.

The proportion of households and businesses with FTTH connections that actually used them was 49.1% at the end of 1Q2023, an increase of 2.7 p.p. compared to a year earlier. The Azores, North and Lisbon regions had FTTH penetration rates above the national average. Only two regions, the Algarve and Madeira, had a rate below 40%. Inter-regional asymmetries have become less clear.

The number of cable households with high-speed access supported by cable TV networks (HFC - Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) increased by 0.1% compared to 1Q2022, to a total of 3.7 million. The coverage of this type of networks was 57.5%.

1 This report uses annual estimates of private households (for ease of reference, “families”) following the 2021 Census. For this reason, penetration figures are not comparable with those in previous reports.
2 Maximum speeds advertised by operators and communicated to consumers.