The toll of antidumping measures on Europe’s 5G and FTTH ambitions


In the race towards a technologically advanced future, Europe finds itself at a crossroads marked by a stark reality—its 5G uptake of a mere 2.5% as of Q4 2021 pales in comparison to the robust strides made by North America, China, Japan, and South Korea. While optimistic projections suggest a future surge in adoption, the continent faces a persistent challenge in lagging behind its global counterparts. However, on the Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) front, the latest market figures unveil a promising trajectory aligned with the ambitious connectivity targets set by the European Commission for 2030. However, given the recent antidumping measures taken against India, maintaining the affordability and accessibility of broadband throughout Europe appears to be a challenging endeavour.

Antidumping Regulation Overhaul: Europe’s Steadfast Decision

Europe’s antidumping regulations can have potential repercussions on the deployment of 5G and Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) infrastructure. The European Commission, in its pursuit of shielding domestic industries, imposes protection tariffs on imports, necessitating a thorough investigation under specific conditions. The antidumping measures, ostensibly protecting the local industry, carry a heavy toll on the broader European landscape. The consequences extend beyond economic nuances, impacting the very fabric of the digital ecosystem. As prices soar due to increased tariffs, consumers are set to bear the brunt of heightened costs, hindering their ability to partake in the evolving digital landscape. The impediments arising from antidumping measures further widen the digital divide, with customers unable to fully experience the transformative potential of 5G and FTTH technologies.

The impact is not only economic but also societal. With the average price of high-speed internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) and monthly utilities in Europe reaching 33.11 euros, the escalated expenses stemming from antidumping measures compound the existing challenges. Moreover, the anticipated rise in costs for fixed broadband, a vital element for 5G and FTTH is expected to be prevalent across most European countries, with nations like Portugal, Greece, and Croatia facing particularly steep internet charges. This economic strain on consumers and businesses alike jeopardizes the widespread adoption and seamless integration of advanced telecommunications technologies.

While the intent behind antidumping measures is to fortify domestic industries, the unintended consequences cast a shadow over Europe’s journey towards 5G and FTTH deployment. The delicate balance between protecting local markets and fostering innovation necessitates a nuanced approach to trade policies, ensuring that the pursuit of economic safeguarding does not inadvertently impede the digital future that the continent aspires to embrace.

What is stopping FTTH/5G adoption in Europe?

Price Sensitivity in Broadband Adoption

The affordability factor significantly influences the adoption of advanced broadband technologies. A substantial price gap between Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) and legacy broadband, such as ADSL and FTTC, directly impacts the rate of adoption. Similarly, a significant difference in price between fibre and mobile broadband can lead some customers to choose mobile-only options.

Challenges in Infrastructure Deployment

Deploying FTTH and 5G infrastructure demands substantial investments in laying fibre optic cables and constructing a robust network of cell towers. The formidable upfront costs can pose a deterrent for both private companies and public entities, limiting the scope of widespread implementation. Additionally, stringent policies and antidumping measures may lead to delays in the development of fiber infrastructure as the highest standards of optical fiber cables become less readily available.

Regulatory Hurdles:

Europe comprises multiple countries, each with its own set of regulations. Navigating this complex regulatory landscape can be challenging for telecommunication companies, slowing down the deployment of FTTH and 5G infrastructure.

Consumer Awareness and Demand:

Many consumers may not fully understand the benefits of FTTH and 5G technologies. Lack of awareness about the advantages, such as higher speeds and reliability, can result in a slower adoption rate. Existing broadband technologies like DSL and cable may still meet the needs of some users, reducing the perceived urgency for transitioning to FTTH.


The price gap between legacy broadband technologies and FTTH can be a significant barrier. Consumers, particularly in economically diverse regions, may be hesitant to pay higher prices for advanced services. Socio-economic differences among European countries can impact the ability of certain regions to invest in and adopt advanced telecommunication technologies.

Competition and Overbuilding:

In some regions, the absence of robust competition among service providers may lead to complacency, reducing the incentive for rapid FTTH/5G deployment. Overlapping infrastructure by multiple providers in densely populated areas can lead to inefficiencies.

Understanding and optimizing deployment in such scenarios is crucial.

Rural and Remote Challenges:

Rural and remote areas often face difficulties in getting access to high-speed internet due to the cost and logistics associated with laying fibre or establishing 5G infrastructure in sparsely populated regions. Some regions may still heavily rely on legacy infrastructure, making the transition to FTTH and 5G a more complicated and time-consuming process.

Global Positioning:

Europe faces strong international competition, and the lag in FTTH and 5G adoption can impact the region’s global standing in terms of technological innovation and competitiveness. The commitment of governments to support and invest in FTTH and 5G infrastructure plays a pivotal role. Political stability and will are critical factors in driving widespread adoption.

Following measures can be taken to secure Europe’s global leadership in digital advancement.

Strategic Alliances with Global Leaders in Optical Fibre Manufacturing:

The import of optical fibre and cables has played a significant role in bridging the digital divide in Europe. Optical fibre cables have transformed the landscape of the telecommunications sector, facilitating high-speed internet connections, streamlined data transfer, and the establishment of reliable communication networks. According to the IndexBox market intelligence platform, the United Kingdom stands in fourth place with an import value of $578.9 million in 2022, while France ranks fifth on the list, importing optical fibre cables worth $462.9 million in 2022. The European optical fibre cable industry is key to the EU’s digital sovereignty because optical fibre cables are crucial for the transition to advanced broadband telecommunication networks for homes and businesses in the EU. Therefore, it becomes imperative to contemplate the removal of antidumping regulations for optical fibres. Lifting such measures can potentially foster strategic alliances with global leaders in optical fibre manufacturing, ensuring seamless access to cutting-edge technologies and bolstering the transition to advanced broadband telecommunication networks across homes and businesses in the EU.

Advocating for Government Support:

To address the scarcity of 5G/FTTH, a unified effort is required from both the public and private sectors. urging governments to provide substantial support for the expansion of digital infrastructure. Strategic investments in research and development, coupled with targeted incentives for telecommunications companies, can pave the way for a comprehensive and widespread rollout of 5G and FTTH networks.

Mitigating Inflationary Pressures:

While the path to enhanced connectivity requires investments, the concern over potential inflationary pressures cannot be ignored. To address this, a collaborative approach should be taken where industry leaders, regulators, and consumer advocates work together to find a delicate balance. Implementing transparent pricing models, fostering healthy competition, and exploring innovative funding mechanisms can help mitigate the risk of inflation while ensuring the sustainability of the telecommunications industry.

Highlighting Global Success Stories:

To bolster the case for strategic investments, it is essential to showcase success stories from regions that have effectively tackled similar challenges. Countries that have prioritized and invested in digital infrastructure have not only realized economic benefits but have also positioned themselves as leaders in the global digital economy. These examples serve as compelling evidence that a forward-looking approach to connectivity is a cornerstone of success.


The EU must understand that cheap prices do not always equal broad availability or high bandwidth. Despite progress, the EU faces internal disparities, with each country grappling with its unique set of challenges. The United Kingdom and France, while making significant imports, still contend with issues of affordability and accessibility, revealing the intricacies of the digital divide. The affordability question extends beyond the dollar signs associated with gigabytes. Political will plays a crucial role in driving connectivity initiatives, but mere promises fall short of addressing the multifaceted challenges that hinder universal access.

The mindset entrenched in the status quo poses a formidable barrier to change, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to bridge the digital chasm. As technology races ahead, political will must be coupled with a nuanced understanding of the interconnected challenges posed by speed, rural access, income disparities, and regulations. There is a need for governments, industry leaders, and advocacy groups to collaborate in charting a course toward a digitally connected future.

Recent Posts