The European Commission (EC) has released its annual 2012 Digital Agenda Scoreboard, which assesses the progress towards Europe’s broadband delivery targets. It found that just 5.5% of UK lines have adopted a superfast broadband ISP service that can deliver download speeds of 30Mbps+ (EU average 8.5%).
Europe’s Digital Agenda seeks to bring “basic broadband” to all Europeans by 2013 and to ensure that, by 2020, everybody has access to faster 30Mbps+ service speeds (with 50% or more using a 100Mbps product). However, while 95% of Europeans now allegedly have access to a fixed broadband connection (100% in the UK, if you can believe that), the vast majority of Europe is still a long way from mass market adoption of superfast services.
Apparently almost half (48 %) of all fixed broadband connections within the EU provide speeds of 10Mbps+, while the share of all fixed lines delivering speeds of 30Mbps+ has risen from 5.1 % to nearly 8.5 % in a year. Sadly superfast connections of at or above 100Mbps remain almost nonexistant but have nearly doubled from 0.8% to 1.3%.
As for the UK specifically, the January 2012 penetration rate of fixed broadband has grown by just 0.1% over the past year to reach 31.7% of the population (EU average 27.7%). Some 73.1% of fixed lines provide speeds of 10Mbps+, 5.5% of lines provide speeds of 30Mbps+ and just 0.1% can deliver speeds equal to or above 100Mbps.
The EC’s Vice President, Neelie Kroes, said:
“Europeans are hungry for digital technologies and more digital choices, but governments and industry are not keeping up with them. This attachment to 20th century policy mindsets and business models is hurting Europe’s economy. It’s a terrible shame. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by under-investing. Europe will be flattened by its global competitors if we continue to be complacent.”
Elsewhere Mobile broadband penetration within the UK is 63.9%, which has grown by 27.5% this past year and is 20.8% above the EU average. Some 81% of the UK population were also found to use the internet regularly (e.g. at least once a week).
The good news is that service speeds and uptake are clearly improving, largely due to the growing availability of new services. Virgin Media’s superfast network can already reach around half of the country (population), while BT should cover 66% by 2014 and might stretch this up to 90% by 2016/17; but only if they win the lion’s share of public funding.
Overall just 34 out of the Digital Agenda’s 101 proposed actions have been completed, while 52 are said to be “on track” and 15 are “delayed or at risk of delay“.
Europe’s 2012 Digital Agenda Scoreboard Report