Introduction: Background, Motivation and Objectives

Fibre-optic cable networks provide high-speed data connectivity but have limited reach to populations outside urban and suburban areas. Around the world, only 2 billion people are within ten km of current fibre-optic cable networks, suggesting that the vast majority of the world’s population still does not have even potential access to fibre networks because of geographic distance. In addition, the figure for actual access to fibre networks may even be overstated, because even if individuals reside within ten km of fibre networks, there may be no current PoP, optical line terminal or fibre drops able to link the network to the individual’s residence or office.

Figure 6: Population within reach of fiber, March 2019

Note: Not cumulative; figure depicts population within category not inclusive of lower thresholds

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)