In 2013, 20.5 million additional households received access to high-speed broadband; EU 4G mobile broadband availability more than doubles in one year
The European Commission (EC) today published its Digital Agenda for Europe Scoreboard for 2013, with help from research conducted by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight, and Valdani, Vicari & Associati (VVA).
IHS Technology provided the EC with data on broadband coverage and access of various technologies across all European Union member states for 2013. IHS and VVA data confirmed that basic broadband (consisting of xDSL, Cable, Fibre-to-the-Premises, WiMAX, HSPA, LTE and Satellite technologies) is available to everyone in the European Union.
- Next Generation Access technologies doubled since 2010 and now cover 62 percent of EU homes;
- Compared to 2012, an additional 20.5 million homes received access to high-speed broadband (at least 30 Mbps download speed) in 2013;
- Fixed broadband coverage in rural areas increased from 79.9 percent to 89.8 percent in two years as governments in many Member States focus on improving rural broadband;
- 4G (LTE) mobile broadband availability increased sharply to 59.1 percent of EU households in 2013, up from 27 percent in 2012.
“The data visualization section of the European Commission’s Scoreboard allows people to interact with the data collected by IHS and VVA as part of the Broadband Coverage in Europe 2013 study in a dynamic way,” said Alzbeta Fellenbaum, broadband analyst at IHS Technology.
“The animation option shows, among other indicators, the growth of standard fixed broadband coverage on a national and rural level, NGA coverage as well as mobile broadband (3G and 4G) availability in each EU member state.”
“The growth of e-commerce, public services and cloud computing in the EU all depend on high speed broadband growth,” she said. “We are seeing more and more investment from governments and the private sector in this industry.”
Fixed and fixed wireless technologies cover 97.2 percent of EU homes and provide primary Internet access for most EU households. Among these technologies, xDSL has the largest footprint (93.5 percent) followed by Cable (42.7 percent) and WiMAX (19.7 percent).
Fixed coverage is the highest in the Member States with well-developed DSL infrastructures, and is over 90 percent in all but four Member States (Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia).
4G availability jumps 32 percent in one year
4G mobile broadband coverage, as a percent of the total number of households, shows that Scandinavian countries, Germany, France and the UK are among the 11 countries above the EU average of 59.1 percent. In Sweden, 99.2 percent of households are in areas covered by advanced 4G mobile broadband. In Germany, 81 percent of households are covered, compared to the 68 percent covered in France and the 63 percentcovered in the UK.
With 4G technology being commercially launched in all but three Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta), deployment of 4G mobile increased sharply from 27.0 percent in 2012 to 59.1 percent in 2013. 3G (HSPA), however, remains the leading mobile broadband technology, covering 97.1 percent of EU households.
Rural access improves
Some gaps remain in terms of coverage of rural areas, where 96.5 percent of households have access to broadband Internet (excluding satellite). Rural households continue to be substantially underserviced by fixed technologies (89.8 percent), and especially by NGA technologies (18.1 percent). Nevertheless, there was remarkable progress in fixed broadband coverage in rural areas over the past two years -- from 79.9 percent in 2011 to 89.8 percent in 2013 -- as governments in many Member States focused on improving broadband access in rural areas.
Nearly two-thirds of EU households have access to Next Generation broadband
Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of EU households have access to broadband connections capable of delivering at least 30 Mbps download speeds. These so-called Next Generation Access (NGA) technologies include VDSL, Cable DOCSIS 3.0 and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).
At the end of 2013, Cable DOCSIS 3.0 had the largest NGA coverage at 41.2 percent, followed by VDSL (31.2 percent) and FTTP (14.5 percent). Over the past year, the NGA coverage increased by eight percentage points, equaling 20.5 million additional households covered by high-speed NGA broadband technologies compared to 2012.
In 2013, VDSL was the fastest growing NGA technology (from 24.9 percent in 2012) with upgrades of cable networks to Cable DOCSIS 3.0 nearly complete and FTTP coverage increasing by two percentage points only. This development clearly demonstrates the shift in broadband strategy in many Member States, where companies are focusing on upgrading of existing copper networks rather than on the more costly deployment of fibre optic all the way to consumers’ homes.
Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands are close to full NGA coverage. Traditionally, NGA coverage continues to be high (over 90 percent) in Latvia and Lithuania due to continued FTTP deployment, whereas VDSL and Cable DOCSIS 3.0 are behind the high NGA coverage in Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands. Italy, Greece and Croatia lag behind in NGA coverage with less than a third of households having access to high-speed broadband in each of the countries.
About the Digital Agenda for Europe
The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) is the European Union’s strategy to promote digital technologies, including rollout of high-speed broadband internet, to deliver sustainable economic growth across the EU. The DAE goals, first announced in 2012, have included universal basic broadband coverage by 2013 and high-speed (at least 30 Mbps download) broadband coverage by 2020.