- In 2013, 20.5 million new households gained access to next generation broadband.
- By the end of 2013, 62.0% of households across the EU Member States had access to high-speed broadband (at least 30 Mbps download speed), against 53.7% in 2012.
- Next Generation Access (NGA) coverage growth was particularly supported by VDSL deployments. In 2013, VDSL became the fastest growing fixed broadband technology for the second year in a row, growing six percentage points in the year to reach 31.2% of households.
- LTE coverage across Europe recorded dramatic, 32% increase in 2013.
- Rural areas remain a challenge in terms of broadband coverage. Rural households continue to be underserviced by fixed technologies (89.8% coverage at rural level, compared to 97.2% total EU coverage), and particularly by NGA technologies (18.1% coverage at rural level versus 62.0% of all EU households.
One of the main goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe is a universal high-speed (at least 30 Mbps download) broadband coverage across the EU by 2020. According to our research, challenges remain in passing this target, with rural NGA coverage continuing to be especially problematic.
Only 18.1% of EU rural homes had access to NGA broadband at the end of 2013. And while this represents a considerable improvement by nearly six percentage points compared to 2012, a lot remains to be done if universal NGA coverage is to be achieved.
Steady rise of Next Gen Access
Among the key findings published in the report is a steady increase in the number of European households within a reach of high-speed Next Generation Access (NGA) networks. NGA technologies, which are capable of delivering at least 30 Mbps download speeds and include VDSL, DOCSIS 3 and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), reached 62% of EU homes at the end of 2013.
Out of the 31 study countries, 22 countries performed above the European average (62.0%) with regards to NGA availability, and only four countries reported NGA coverage below 50% (France, Croatia, Greece and Italy). Italy had the lowest coverage of NGA technologies, with a total availability of 20.8% of households.
UK leader in the number of regions with universal fixed broadband coverage
In terms of general fixed broadband coverage, 97.2% of EU homes were passed by at least one fixed broadband technology, with DSL networks being the most spread across the study countries. Looking at the regional coverage maps, UK is the most impressive with vast majority regions being 100% covered by fixed networks.
LTE's dramatic rise
LTE coverage across Europe increased dramatically in 2013. While there were eight countries with no LTE coverage in 2012, there were only three countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta) at the end of 2013 which recorded no LTE availability. The EU average LTE coverage grew by 32.1 percentage points, increasing from 27.0% to 59.1% of households. Sweden was the leading country in terms of LTE coverage in 2013 with an extensive LTE network reaching nearly all of its households (99.2%). Nevertheless, on the whole HSPA (3G) networks remained the leading mobile broadband technology covering 97.1% of EU households.