Market Watch

European Commission Publishes Digital Agenda Progress Report


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The European Commission (EC) has reported progress to date on delivering on the EU's Digital Agenda, launched in May 2010 to boost broadband adoption in the EU, alongside other aims. The Agenda is supported by 101 actions, 31 of which are backed by legislation, to be met by EU Member States and the EC.

Among the findings, the EC reported that:

  • DSL access coverage stood at 95% at year-end 2010, meaning 23.5m remaining citizens - mostly in rural areas - did not have access to fixed broadband. The EC aims to make basic broadband, whether via fixed or mobile networks, available to all EU households by 2013. It is unclear how many households without access to fixed broadband can connect via wireless means
  • The 2020 goal of all EU households having access to marketed broadband speeds at 30Mbit/s or above is seeing progress with next-generation network rollouts (which includes fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), VDSL, DOCSIS 3.0 cable types). Nearly 30% EU households can sign up to products at those speeds, although adoption of these premium high-speed products is still at ~5% of total fixed broadband lines, as of January 2010. It's important to bear in mind that while households may have access to packages advertised at 30Mbit/s, the actual speed of the connection is frequently lower - due to factors including location (with VDSL), network congestion, quality of in-home wiring etc.

Analysis
While coverage of current-generation broadband access is nearing universality, supported by non-fixed broadband means including mobile, satellite and fixed wireless types in harder to reach rural areas, progress in coverage and adoption of next-generation broadband still has some way to go to hit the 2020 goal of universal coverage of 30Mbit/s marketed speeds.

According to data from IHS Screen Digest, next-generation broadband totalled 4.4m lines in Western Europe at YE 2010, but is forecast to grow to 22.3m lines by 2015. Next-generation share of total fixed broadband connections at year-end 2010 was highest in Sweden, where 0.8m lines took 27% of connections, while in Ireland, UK, Switzerland and Spain all claimed shares of under 2% at the same point. Within the EU Big Five next-generation broadband reached 0.4m lines in Italy (2.6% of total), 0.5m in France (2.4%), 0.5m in Germany (2.1%), 0.2m in Spain (1.6%) and 0.2m in the UK (1.2%).

As far as average advertised speeds, IHS Screen Digest data indicates Western Europe average advertised speed increased to 8.8Mbit/s in 2010, up from 7.7Mbit/s a year ago. The countries with the highest advertised speed were France (23.3Mbit/s), Portugal (18.5Mbit/s) and the UK (16.7Mbit/s).

Find Out More > IHS Screen Digest Broadband Media