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Digital Agenda, shaping the future of broadband across Europe
Tuesday 19 June 2012 10:02:33 by Andrew Ferguson

With the UK Government hoping to announce that the UK has the best broadband in Europe in 2015, how the UK stands in statistics announced by the EU as part of its Digital Agenda may help inform progress in the absence of similar statistics from the BDUK and others.

The UK generally fares very well in terms of coverage of basic broadband, and even merits 100% coverage of broadband in one form or another. We also have the third largest number of broadband lines, where we do start to fall behind is take-up of services at speeds of 30 Mbps and faster. The UK is in 3rd place with regards to the share of fixed broadband lines at 10 Mbps or faster, but moving to a speed of 30 Mbps or faster, we shift to below average across the EU at just 5.5% of lines.

Countries like Romania, Lithuania head the table for take-up of superfast services, but their national coverage of any broadband is just 82% and 88.5%. The suggestion is that in the UK the push that occurred in 2003 to 2006 to get ADSL services as widespread as possible, along with regulator pressure to ensure LLU was a success has hampered the roll-out of superfast services. Until 2009, the rules stopped BT/Openreach deploying FTTC/P.

The moves by Virgin Media to slowly upgrade customers to faster speeds, and only sell a 30 Mbps minimum service will have an increasing impact on the statistics, and in three years it is very likely that the few million Virgin Media customers will all be on a service running at 50 Mbps or faster. The Openreach full and partial fibre services are grabbing the attention of the public, and the questioning about where/when/how fast are reminiscent of the ADSL rollout in 2002-2003.

The EU has some €9.2bn to spend to get the 27 EU countries broadband services running at speeds that will meet the EU 2020 targets. The difficult one for the UK which is very price sensitive is how to drive take-up of 30 Mbps and faster services, not an easy task when millions are used to shopping around for broadband and seeing prices of £3.25 to £10 a month.

Hopefully the BDUK and UK Government will start to publish its Broadband Scorecard soon, so that we can track our progress towards the targets. If the only publication is the final scorecard result saying job done, then many critics will claim the scoring system was fixed.


Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
"where we do start to fall behind is take-up of services at speeds of 30 Mbps and faster."

And that is the problem with these reports, you can't make people take up services.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
My gut feeling is that places like Romania and Lithuania are doing well with FTTB/Ethernet roll-outs and there may be a single speed option to buy.

Give UK consumer a choice and the one that is 50p per month less will win.
Posted by vicdupreez over 5 years ago
On the other hand, make it available in more places, and more people will take it up... I would be HAPPY to lay fibre from my house to the nearest BT Cabinet... I have been told by BT that because my exchange has no cabinets, they will not allow me to cable up to the exchange...
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
vicdupreez, but that is happening and it isn't happening :)

Its being made available to more and more places each month but the take up is still low.

For me the problem is:-

Broadband costs are too low in the UK, if its the choice of paying more (even a bit) during these bad times people would rather stick with what they have.

Secondly at the moment BT are championing their FTTC services, some (as we can see on here) don't like BT or long contracts so don't sign up.

I'm hoping now that TalkTalk and Sky are on board we'll see better take up over the next year.
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
Some people who are already getting a pretty good speed of say over 10 megabits on ADSL, then they will not see the need to spend more money to go faster. If on the other hand, you only getting 5megabits or less, then they may think about going for a faster speed.

If I lived where my mate lives, which is getting 16Megabits, then no way would I change to fibre or change to the wireless system I am changing to in the next week.
Posted by camieabz over 5 years ago
Note that the countries with the greater take up, are the ones using broadband less.

Technological evolution, or economical issues?
Posted by camieabz over 5 years ago
Meant to add: With the exception of the UK. Perhaps even language trends?
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Another issue is European countries being touted as models that have excellent fibre services in urban areas, but non-existant in rural areas. CD should note this, that there isn't even BB service of any description, solely dial up...

The Baltic states have "ideal" set ups, where they cater for both rural and urban. Romania is a prime example of urban getting the cake and nothing for rural.
Posted by darren_mccoy over 5 years ago
I had no idea BT would allow you to lay fibre to a cabinet, Is this really possible? I'm getting on the phone right now. I'm two fields from a cabinet.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Quote: "The EU has some €9.2bn to spend to get the 27 EU countries broadband services running at speeds that will meet the EU 2020 targets. "

Has it? I didn't think the budget for 2014 onwards had been approved yet, so not sure a single euro is available for this, let alone 9.2bn?
Posted by vicdupreez over 5 years ago
@darren_mccoy. I was going to use the Physical infrastructure access... Think about it though... they will connect to wherever you are... What is stopping you (apart from way leaves, permissions etc) to bring your cable right to them...
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
^ just about everything? PIA is not available to joe public
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