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EC Telecoms Report Highlights Broadband Growth
By: MarkJ - 19 March, 2008 (2:03 PM)

The European Commission (EC) has today issued its 13th Progress Report on the Single Telecoms Market, which revealed that 19m new broadband lines were added in the EU during 2007, equivalent to more than 50,000 households every day.

Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden are world leaders in broadband deployment with penetration rates over 30% at the end of 2007. These EU countries, together with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, all had broadband penetration rates higher than the US (22.1%) in July 2007:

"The European regulatory model is designed to increase competition in the telecoms market and this certainly is starting to pay off,” said Viviane Reding, the EU's Telecoms Commissioner. "However, the job is not yet done. Competition is limited for access to the fixed network which is still provided to 86.5% of customers over the incumbent's infrastructure. In addition, though telecoms technologies know no borders, only 30% of major operators' EU business is outside their home market. This shows that we still lack an attractive single market for businesses and services of European dimensions, so we must intensify our efforts to reduce the regulatory borders in Europe.

It's also noted that the broadband sector generated estimated revenues of €62 billion (£48.7bn) and Europe’s overall penetration reached 20%. In addition, 13% of Europeans now subscribe to a bundled offer with a single bill, 12% include TV in their bundled package, 23% voice telephony, 6% mobile telephony and 24% Internet access.

The Telecoms sector in the United Kingdom continued to see robust retail price competition with strong progress in local loop unbundling (LLU) contributing to further broadband penetration. Though this growth may have been slower than 2006, the UK remains above the EU average.

Further more, about a third of UK households now use bundled services and around 2.2 million use triple or quadruple-play services, including broadband, voice telephony, IPTV and mobile telephony.

Unfortunately the report also found that Incumbent operators hold more than 46% of broadband lines and in 7 Member States control more than 60% of broadband connections. In Cyprus, Luxembourg and Finland, the incumbent’s broadband market share is higher than 70%.

Moreover, access to fixed telephony is still provided to 86.5% of customers over the incumbent's infrastructure, and to more than 95% in the case of 12 Member States, either because regulatory changes have yet to be made or to take effect. The UK statistics can be viewed - here (PDF).


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