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EU Publish 2013 Map of Superfast Broadband Coverage in UK and Europe

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 (1:58 pm) - Score 4,424

The European Commission (EC) has quietly published an updated annual report into the coverage of superfast broadband (Next Generation Access) services around the EU, which shows that good progress is being made in most areas towards achieving the Digital Agenda goals (e.g. 30Mbps+ for all by 2020) but some countries are dragging their feet.

Somehow this report slipped under the Internet’s radar last week but we managed to pluck it from obscurity and found some interesting statistics. Firstly it’s important to remember that two of the EU’s key Digital Agenda aims were to deliver “basic” (0.5-4Mbps) and “competitively-priced” broadband internet access to all Europeans by 2013 and for everybody within the EU to have access to superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps+ by 2020 (with 50% or more households subscribing to 100Mbps+).

The results (based on 2012 data) reveal that standard broadband connectivity is already available to the vast majority of premises (99.4% overall [fixed, wireless etc.] or 95.5% if you only count fixed line services), which means 207 million premises across Europe can now get online with something better than dialup. By comparison the United Kingdom hovers around 99.95% overall or 99.8% for fixed lines.

But sadly fixed line superfast broadband (NGA) connections still have a long way to go and currently only cover 53.7% of EU premises (112 million premises), which is up slightly from 50.2% (105 million) last year due to some countries dragging their feet a bit. This falls to a figure of only 12.4% for coverage in rural areas.

eu superfast broadband nga coverage map 2012

Thankfully the United Kingdom’s rapid roll-out of hybrid fibre (FTTC/VDSL, DOCSIS3 cable) technology, which might not be as fast as full fibre optic (FTTH/P) but it’s a lot cheaper and quicker to deploy, means that NGA availability has risen from 58.3% (18.6% in rural areas) in 2011 to 70.3% (18.2%) now (note: Ofcom’s latest 2013 data points to this having reached roughly 75%).

It’s interesting to note that the rural NGA split for the UK hasn’t changed and that’s mostly because the majority of hybrid fibre deployments have continued to focus on urban or sub-urban areas, although we expect the data for 2013 (due this time next year of course) to show a mild improvement thanks to the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme and other altnet projects. However it might still be the case that rural areas won’t see a big improvement until the 2014 – 2017 period (i.e. the current focus tends to be upon improving sub-urban areas first).

Meanwhile it’s easy to see just how dominant hybrid fibre and cable have become across Europe by looking at this breakdown of technology types and coverage.

eu broadband coverage by technology 2012

NGA might be growing but a quick look at the Point Topic based data shows that it still has a long way to go before the slower old style copper ADSL (DSL) based broadband connections are cannibalised out of the market through NGA adoption.

Broadband Coverage in Europe (2012)

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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40 Responses
  1. Avatar cyberdoyle says:

    It continues to be a farce, and the statistics are not sound. Many homes and businesses are classed as having broadband because they are connected to enabled exchanges, but in reality with long copper lines they actually don’t. Until someone wakes up to this and removes the weasel words and hype we’re never going to have a connected continent. The digital divide grows wider every day, and satellite and mobile is not good enough nor affordable for many, so they remain analogue because to be digital is just too much trouble. The telcos are leaching the last remaining assets from their infrastructure and in 2020 will be waiting with open hands for the next round of funding having paid multimillion pound bonuses and massive dividends to shareholders instead of re-investing in the future. Its a scandal. The do gooders jump on the bandwagon for ‘online centres’ and training courses, yet the people can’t get connected through the old phone lines. Bring on some fibre. Moral and optic and stop pratting about with copper. Recycle it, its worth a fortune in scrap. Lets get digital.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Simple question, how do you propose to fund 100% FTTP?

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Before you embark on your scrap metal campaign, have you even considered that some people may not wish to change? Or that others would resent the probable price increase to fund the massive costs involved, may be happy with a slow, very low cost ADSL service?

      That may not apply to many that post here, but we’re not representative of the whole UK population.

    3. @New_Londoner brilliant! Provide everyone with slow broadband. So obvious when you think about it.

    4. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @cyberdoyle: Would be interesting to learn more about and copy the business model of doing FTTP, as was widely implemented in some Eastern European countries such a Lithuania or Latvia! These countries are poorer than the UK, yet they managed to set up a proper fibre broadband network.

    5. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      My source for my statement is the table in the article above, combined with basic maths. As to Ofcom finding against BT, see Ofcom’s website – not sure whether it has disagreed on coverage claims, however even if it hasn’t does not indicate a conspiracy as it could of course be correct.

    6. Avatar gerarda says:

      @new Londoner the first is just a circular argument – you have come up with nothing to explain why over million premises use fixed wireless.

      The second merely proves my point, and as you know I have pointed out several examples in previous postings of where the BTOfcom figures are incorrect, and where accurate Point Topic was available to them

    7. Avatar TheFacts says:

      @cyberdoyle – will you ever explain how you believe broadband across the UK should be funded?

    8. Avatar MikeW says:

      Where do you get the figure that 100,000 premises actually have a fixed wireless connection?

      The table that you seem to refer to (and @New_Londoner explicitly says he does) shows 4.1% have coverage, but not necessarily an actual connection.

    9. Avatar MikeW says:

      While coverage statistics for DSL-based broadband may be unsound, the finances for an all-FTTP rollout are too. Fibre needs more advantages to overcome some of these financial obstacles. B4RN, for example, does so through community &volunteer action, alongside an implicit belief that there will be no competition.

      Cities have less freedom for this kind of action – and if you look at the story on KC’s fibre progress (3 or 4 below this one), you’ll see that I made a comment that highlights the problems that are encountered in funding a fibre rollout, and the advantage that KC has in Hull.

      Every other city and town in the UK has neither the advantage that B4RN has, nor the one that KC has.

      Discussing how to give those places equivalent advantages, or how to fund those places in the absence of the advantages, is surely a better way to progress the discussion than sloganising, isn’t it?

  2. Avatar Richard Brown says:

    I didn’t propose funding FTTP – but did do a summary financial and policy whitepaper that would allow for funding ubiquitous 100Mbps service across the entire of the UK:

    1. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      Interesting. Can you provide a link to a more readable format though, as your PDF is too slow to download?

    2. Avatar TheFacts says:

      A short summary explaining the funding would be useful, it seems to be based on tax savings for companies investing, which results in the government effectively funding.

    3. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Whitepaper? Delusions of grandeur. And not prepared to explain or discuss it.

    4. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      “Delusions of grandeur.”

      Please explain. Links? Sources?

    5. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Richard’s document. Probably needs rewriting reflecting the BDUK projects now happening.

    6. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Jneuhoff – links and sources ? What are you talking about? He is saying Richards document is delusional , you have a link to that already . Instead if replying with your usual scripted response you might be better off reading what has been said first

    7. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @FibreFred: TheFacts didn’t explain why he thinks it’s “Delusions of grandeur.” His posts don’t contribute to a constructive forum thread, just as your own constant praising of anything BT related doesn’t help anybody.

    8. Avatar TheFacts says:

      I’m referring to the document Richard produced which is high on presentation and low on actual detail on what a 100M for all solution might consist of technically and how it might be funded. Can anyone who has read it please explain.

      It’s now overtaken by the BDUK rollout in part, hence suggesting an update.

    9. Avatar FibreFred says:

      JNeuhoff more scripted responses, surprised not to see “I’m alright jack” maybe you pressed the wrong function key

      You asked for links and sources for “Delusions of grandeur.” it seems you are the delusional one for even asking such a delusional question in the first place.

      What you asked makes no sense whatsoever. Its like saying someone saying someone is stupid (which is a personal opinion) and then asking for links and sources.

    10. Avatar JNeuhoff says:

      @FibreFred: I don’t remember talking to you. Everybody knows you act like a BT spokesman. You constant name calling doesn’t produce anything positive to the discussion and makes you look like a fool or troll.

  3. Avatar gerarda says:

    It interesting that 4.1% of the UK are shown as having wireless connections when ADSL has supposedly almost universal coverage. No wonder BTOfcom never mention wireless in their spin reports as the lie would be too easily revealed.

    I think an independent regulator rather than a BT subsidiary is long overdue.

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Not sure there is an issue in the table, bearing in mind some properties will have multiple choices.

      For example, it’s probably that virtually all of the 4.1% with a fixed wireless option also have ADSL, satellite and 3G. Many of those with VDSL will also have DOCSIS 3, ADSL, 3G, satellite and possibly 4G too. So please explain the “lie” you refer to.

      Also, repeatedly referring to “BTOfcom” doesn’t make it any more true than the first time you raised it. It remains a slogan without substance, better to focus on facts rather than assertions.

    2. Avatar gerarda says:

      @New londoner
      Agree with the satellite option. Hardly anyone with fixed wireless access is going to choose satellite instead.

      Firstly, to quote your oft quoted phrase where are your sources for your claim that virtually all with a fixed wireless have ADSL and 3G options.

      Secondly find me a few examples where Ofcom have challenged or critically analysed BT’s coverage claims. Until then there appears to be no dividing line between them

    3. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      See reply to you posted under input from Cyberdoyle in error.

  4. The last price for FTTP for the UK was £28 Billion. Scrap HS2 at a cost of £40 Billion. The EU Digital Agenda of 30 Mbps for all by 2020 will no doubt be achieved by satellite if you care to buy the equipment – job done.

    The latest target of the UK Government(which are so easily declared as failed) that 95% of the UK population will have access to superfast broadband (over 24 Mbps)by 2017 has the twist of having a 2 Mbps minimum. Not so superfast but quite ordinary.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      If you plan to use the HS2 funds to build FTTP, then remember the budget was not a lump sum of £40bn, but was £2bn per year. That would make for a 14 year project, always assuming you can get the right number of staff. Even in this FTTC rollout, BT havent been able to spend at that rate, suggesting other limitations that mean it would take even longer. And, of course, The remote areas would undoubtedly be last to be deployed on that project too.

      The FTTC rollout might feel excruciatingly slow, but is actually very fast for such things.

      Satellite can provide the speed and coverage, but can’t support the capacity even if you assume the costs can come down enough. Even including future launches, there’s still only capacity for 2-3% of the country to be connected via satellite and get to download the same average quantity as everyone else. No golden panacea there either.

  5. I see that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania must be living under an umbrella due to the 0% satellite coverage in those countries! 🙂

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      I think it is because the launched satellites haven’t got any transponders pointing at those countries. Perhaps, because of satellite location vs curvature of the earth, it is technically impossible. Or perhaps there is no market making it worthwhile.

    2. Doubt it very much on all counts. Transponder pointing is not such an exact science and transponders covering Poland, Sweden and Finland would almost certainly cover the Baltic states.

    3. Avatar TheFacts says:

      But no company selling broadband would explain it.

  6. Avatar Satchap says:

    There is a British company, Inmarsat, that will deliver broadband access worldwide for £1.5Billion. So maybe for £28 Billion we could make a high speed satellite network with ubiqitious coverage?

  7. Avatar dragoneast says:

    How fund it? Perhaps abolish the NHS which has done nothing more than create a nation of irresponsible pansies. It’d sort out the immigration everyone’s worried about, make people look after themselves and stop driving recklessly and engaging in other dangerous pursuits if they have to pay the true cost of their negligence, and halt the smoking, drinking, and drug plagues (saving the police and courts too). Stop trying to keep people alive beyond their time. And the savings can be invested in real infrastructure benefit rather than wasted on welfare. And release a shed load of NHS employees to do something productive. Win, win, win. They can achieve things abroad because they don’t have the NHS welfare millstone round their necks. The truth is always uncomfortable but 98% of modern illness is probably self-inflicted through bad lifestyles.

    1. someone got out of bed on the wrong side this morning! 🙂

  8. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Nah, it’s called “thinking outside the box”. All our infrastructure is antiquated. Remember the windfall we expected from North Sea gas. Well, we spent it all on welfare, and what have we got to show for it? Whilst we all have more spending power than our fathers ever dreamed of. So why can’t we spend some of it looking after ourselves and let the state get on with the stuff it has to do rather than the stuff we can do for ourselves? Following the example of those countries everyone’s always talking about. Confuse sense with a bad mood if you like . . .

  9. Avatar Spilt Milk says:

    46.9% VDSL coverage, wasn’t BT claiming it was more than that?

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Remember these are figures for 2012 not this year.

    2. Avatar gerarda says:

      BT were claiming that for 2012 and that was used in the report but as the report says this figure is overstated

      “The survey definition for VDSL coverage is:
      Close enough to a VDSL-enabled cabinet or exchange to get a broadband signal of at least 25Mbpsdownstream, typically equivalent to a radial distance of about 500 metres. In the United Kingdom the data provided reported the overall coverage of VDSL with no restriction on the speed delivered. This is expected to have increased the overall figure reported for NGA coverage in the United Kingdom”

      I also notice that the 2011 data for rural DSL in the UK was restated down by 7.1% to 92.9% to be comparable with the study definition.

  10. Avatar Slow Somerset says:

    I see the west country is one of the worst covered areas In England. Its seems we are like the forgotten area, no Investment In roads and HS2 is going no where near us. Come on Connecting Devon & Somerset pull your finger out or should it be BT pull your finger out ?.

    1. Avatar Faster Somerset says:

      Cabinets are being installed now in places plus surveying continues.

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