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80% of European Homes Use DSL for Broadband

Posted: 19th Apr, 2008 By: MarkJ
The European Commission's (EC) latest i2010 report, which is part of a digital strategy for growth, has revealed that 250m of the EU's half a billion citizens regularly go online and 80% of broadband subscribers use a DSL (ADSL etc.) technology to do so.

Growth in broadband penetration continued in 2007 but large gaps remain between countries. In January 2008, there were an estimated total of 99 million broadband lines in the EU, an increase of 23.8% over the preceding year. This represents an average broadband take-up of 20% of the EU population.

Denmark (35.6%), Finland (34.6%), the Netherlands (34.2%) and Sweden (31.2%) top the EU league with penetration rates above 30%, and maintain their position as world leaders well ahead of Korea, the US or Japan. It's worth pointing out that the UK places fifth on 25.7%.

Naturally prices of broadband access tend to be cheaper in the most developed countries and more expensive in the least. For instance, the least expensive offer for broadband with a nominal download speed of 1Mbps was priced at €49 (inc. VAT) in Slovakia, while consumers in the Netherlands were charged €14 for a product with similar speeds. By comparison the UK came a few places behind the Netherlands with an average price of roughly €22.

Figures for the national coverage of DSL networks also hide a gap between rural and urban areas in several countries. Deployment costs largely depend on a country’s topography and population density, and full coverage remains a challenge in a number of countries. Greece, Slovakia, Latvia, Italy, Poland, Lithuania and Germany show a large gap between coverage in urban and rural areas.

On average, at EU25 level, 94% of the population in urban areas are able to subscribe to a DSL connection, as against 72% of the rural population. The UK places fourth in this chart too, with roughly 95% rural coverage and 99% urban.

The average rate of download speeds that European citizens subscribe to are slow compared to other regions. Average EU speeds are about 1Mbps with limited upload speeds. For the EU as a whole, the percentage of subscribers to cable modem and xDSL products with speeds below 1Mbps is declining, while the percentage of subscribers with access to speeds between 1 and 2Mbps has risen from 23% to 32%.

Nevertheless, the 512Kbps to 1Mbps range remains the most common (34% of subscribers), closely followed by the 1–2 Mbps bracket. Only a small fraction of European subscribers have broadband speeds above 2Mbps, and access speeds above 8 Mbps are still marginal (5% of cable modem and DSL subscribers). Fast connections, such as fibre (FTTx) are used by only 1.2% of European subscribers concentrated in a handful of countries. It's worth pointing out that the speed data is only as recent as December 2006, making it of little use.
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