Next generation fixed networks, providing high-speed access, are currently based on fibre optic networks and on cable TV distribution networks which make use of the EuroDOCSIS 3.0 standard.
At the end of the third quarter of 2009, there were 731 thousand households in Portugal cabled with optical fibre for all operators.
The number of households with EuroDOCSIS 3.0 access - the standard used by cable television operators to provide high-speed services - totalled 1.7 million, - about 2.3 times the number of households cabled with optical fibre.
Households with high-speed access are concentrated in the Lisbon and North regions of the country.
At the end of September there were about 12 operators with installed high-speed accesses. The main network operators with installed high-speed accesses in Portugal are ZON, PTC and Sonaecom.
The number of residential customers who use services supported by high-speed access (FTTH and EuroDOCSIS 3.0 or equivalent) is reported at 36 thousand, representing 1.4% of cable accesses. There are 13 300 residential customers using fibre. If corporate customers are taken into account, the number of FTTH users rises to 14 thousand as of the end of September.
ZON is reported as the operator that has the most customers with services based on high-speed access, followed by Sonaecom - which is also the operator with the most fibre optic customers - and by PTC.
Penetration, in terms of classic family households, is reported at 0.6 per 100 households, and is highest in the Lisbon region (1.5 per 100 households).
The development of offers based on fibre is beginning to contribute to the increase in fixed broadband internet. In fact, the other accesses category, which includes offers based on optical fibre, FWA and leased circuits, representing 2.1% of the total, is showing annual growth rates of around 21%, mainly due to the expansion of fibre.
In the third quarter of 2009, during which 1.806 million fixed broadband customers were reported, 3.1% more than in the previous quarter, the main access technology remains ADSL (57.6%). Customers using cable modem access, which totalled about 729 thousand, correspond to 40.3% of all fixed broadband customers.
With respect to mobile broadband, there were 3.4 million users at the end of September, 17% more than in the previous quarter. The number of active mobile broadband users grew by 36.7% in the quarter to about two million users, representing 58% of all mobile broadband customers.