Skip Navigation

Point Topic commissioned to map broadband across Europe
Monday 27 February 2012 13:30:11 by Andrew Ferguson

With the EU ambition that by 2020, 50% of households will have subscriptions of 100 Mbps or faster, and a speed of 30 Mbps be available to all EU citizens, setting in place methods to monitor and measure progress is important. To this end, Point Topic has been commissioned by the EU to map superfast broadband coverage, not on just a country by country basis, but down to the district level across all 27 EU countries, plus Norway and Iceland.

Point Topic will be contacting telecomms operators directly, bypassing any local regulator, and the intention is to provide data on a wide range of services, DSL, VDSL, FTTP/B, cable networks (DOCSIS and DOCSIS 3), WiMAX, HSPA, LTE and satellite services.

"We’re very pleased and proud to have the opportunity to do such important and pioneering work. We have been tracking the coverage and offerings of broadband operators around the world since 1998 and mapping UK broadband in detail since 2005. We are delighted to be able to use this experience to advance the cause of making broadband into a major utility, with reliable and high quality service available to everyone."

Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic

From clicking through to the Point Topic micro-site for the project, the definition of district means down to the local authority area, as in Borough or County Council level or the equivalent in other EU countries.

The EU has already been tracking key targets for its 2020 Digital Agenda, which is ahead of where the UK is, since all we have at the moment is an indication of the scorecard that the UK will judge itself to be best in Europe by 2015. The more ambitious targets set by the EU provide a longer term aim, which with additional funding from the EU and individual government (e.g a further £300m from the UK Government for broadband is expected in 2015 to 2017) may be met.

Meeting all the EU 2020 targets in the UK, will be tough challenge, and should hopefully mean more fibre to the premises gets rolled out, particularly if the economics of doing so become more attractive, either through changes in the fibre tax system, or demonstration of strong demand in areas where the service is available. The headline grabbing figure of 50% of households having 100 Meg subscriptions by 2020, is very likely to happen if Virgin Media continues its speed upgrades of the past few years, and Openreach even just completes its planned FTTP deployments. The 30 Mbps for all target is the difficult one, as from 2015 onwards, it will not be the final third, but rather the final 10% that is the area of concern.


Posted by mervl over 5 years ago
Is there still the eternal problem that mapping to counties and met boro's, where the large urbans have FTTx/Virgin and most of the population, must mean that samples are skewed towards showing higher average speeds and a brighter picture? Are the problem areas of the remote from cab suburbs and rural areas masked as they are always aggregated with those at the other extreme of the "digital divide"?
Posted by mervl over 5 years ago
Just a thought: why not map to parliamentary constituencies where the Boundary Commission selection criteria are equality of population and similar demographics i.e. areas which have some similarity in social/geographical characteristics. And you'd know who to hold to account if you aren't getting enough (try the MP). Iy'll never happen for that reason alone, though!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
There are a load of changes to the constituency boundaries coming, a drop from 650 to 600, and a few are tweaked every few years.

There would be scope for Ofcom to commission Point Topic to do data to a greater granularity.

Some authorities have been good at mapping their area already, others do very little in the public domain.
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
"There are a load of changes to the constituency boundaries coming, a drop from 650 to 600, and a few are tweaked every few years."
Several counties have rather major changes planned. Cumbria is one of them. Not as interesting as it was going to be though - initial plans had Tim Farron vs Rory Stewart which would of been a fun fight...
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
( goes into detail for anyone who is interested )
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
It's NUTS - Nomenclature des Unités territoriales statistiques.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Any map should be down to individual post code, not county, which tells us nothing.
Posted by Somerset over 5 years ago
Is this more or less useless than the DCMS report?
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
The problem at the moment is there is a lot of spin but little substance to it so no one really knows the true situation in the UK and what little is known is very broadbrush so if you atre nominally in a VM area it is assumed you can get it although in practice your street or whole estate many not be cabled
Posted by michaels_perry over 5 years ago
Such 'mapping' should be in greater detail, at least to street level to separate out urban from rural, etc. It should also be differentiating between fibre/cable and xDSL. Why ask ISPs, they have a vested interest anyway, ask users form a more accurate survey.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.