• Internet.Record of online traffic on Saturday night: the leading Spanish network, to the test

Spanish networks resist. It cannot always be said and, on this occasion, that the country is in better conditions than its surroundings, for example with seven times more homes connected by fiber optics than Italy, as well as an average internet connection speed that doubles that of that nation, the one that has suffered for the moment from the impact of the Covid-19 with greater virulence.

The closure against the coronavirus lasts at least another 15 days and the use of technology continues to skyrocket due to teleworking, online training, the rise of telephone communications between family and friends and the search for leisure alternatives, so much so that Streaming platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and Disney + , which begins its activity in Spain on Tuesday, have reduced the quality of their videos by at least 25% as a preventive measure in Europe.

Starting with Telefónica, the operators are in contact with the Government to report on the stability of the infrastructures; without going any further, last Friday Nadia Calviño , vice president for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, held a telematic meeting with the main market representatives during the morning.

The sector has evolved favorably in recent years. Since 2008, when Telefónica's fiber remained at a download speed of 30 Megabits per second, the infrastructures have been strengthened to currently reach 600 symmetric Mbps , that is, both in download and in data upload.

An equal network for all locations

The FTTH (fiber to the home) network is the largest in Europe , the main one in number of connected homes. At the end of last year, more than 23 million properties were accounted for, 73% of the total (100% expected to be covered in 2025). However, today all localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants already have an FTTH network, an essential advantage over other territories.

In these comparisons, it makes sense to look at Italy, as it is the only country on the continent that is more affected than Spain by the coronavirus today. Thus, if last year Spain accounted for 10.2 million households connected by fiber, Italy remains at 1.4 million, so that the national deployment is seven times more extensive , according to Analysys Mason. These data refer to customers, subscribers, logically less than the 23 million potential who are given the option of fiber in Spain.

The origin of Pedro Sánchez's figures

The president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, usually remembers these circumstances in each of his appearances, and the head of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, alluded to that calculation last Saturday night: "Spain has more kilometers fiber optic than the sum of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy together. "

Indeed, France, with 6.8 million; Germany, with 0.6 million; United Kingdom, with 1.1 million; and the aforementioned Italy, with 1.4 million, would collectively collect fewer households connected by fiber than Spain. The national data is seven times broader than the Italian , for delving into the same comparison. Of the Spanish total, around 42.8% corresponds to Telefónica, according to data from the National Market and Communications Commission (CNMC).

The deployment of fiber generally enables a better online connection, as can be seen in different rankings. In view of the Digital Quality of Life produced by Surfshark, Spain ranked last year as the 10th fastest country on the internet , with an average of 105.58 Mbps and above European nations such as Germany (68.39 Mbps ) and Italy (49.26 Mbps), also conditioned by confinement against Covid-19. These numbers show that the Spanish Network usually doubles in speed to the Italian one .

The copper that was renounced

There are other formulas for internet access, of course, such as the aforementioned ADSL, which branches out over copper networks. However, FTTH has finally prevailed. In recent years, Telefónica has intensified a migration from one to another technology, since fiber optics accredits greater robustness and therefore faster and more stable connections, even in the long run less expensive to maintain. The necessary disbursement has been capital, as can be seen in the Capex (capital expenditures) figures in the income statements, but in the long run the strategy seems to be winning. In 2019 alone, Telefónica's investment for that migration reached 1,646 million euros.

In addition, Telefónica was forced by the Competition authority to share a large part of its fiber infrastructure with rental companies with competitors, who joined the trend. The entire sector, with Orange, Vodafone, MásMóvil (which integrates Yoigo) and other companies such as Euskaltel have also turned to the development of this network.

Thus, Spain is the fifth country in the world in fiber connections within the total calculation of fixed broadband, with 62%, while, for example, Italy is limited to 6%, as indicated by the Organization for Cooperation and the Economic Development (OECD) in a review of the 2019 scenario. South Korea, Japan, Lithuania, Sweden and Latvia are the only OECD members that surpass Spain.

With Calviño on Friday and appearance on Saturday

All these data have been presented to the Government by the operators. In fact, on Friday an agreement was signed to guarantee connectivity also during the extension of the confinement, a pact signed by Calviño; Cellnex Telecom CEO, Tobías Martínez; the CEO of Euskaltel, José Miguel García; the CEO of MásMóvil, Meinrad Spenger; that of Orange Spain, Laurent Paillassot ; the president of Telefónica Spain, Emilio Gayo; the CEO of Vodafone Spain, António Coimbra ; and the president of the National Association of Operators of Telecommunications and Internet Services (AOTEC), Antonio García, in an event developed by videoconference in which the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures, Roberto Sánchez, has also participated.

Data from the sector were incorporated into the appearance on Saturday starring Sánchez, who took advantage of the figures to highlight the "more than satisfactory" response of Spanish telecommunications to this crisis: "Spain was last Monday [March 16] the second country of the European Union [4% of the world total], only behind Germany, with the most data traffic on the internet in absolute figures, the fifth worldwide, only behind the USA, with 17% of world traffic; India with 14%, the United Kingdom with 8% and Germany with 6% ".

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  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Telefónica
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Pedro Sánchez
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Youtube
  • Lithuania
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Disney
  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • José María Álvarez-Pallete
  • Latvia
  • Nadia Calviño
  • Netflix
  • Coronavirus
  • Covid 19

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