The European broadband market is continuing to develop steadily, attracting investment as operators migrate from their legacy copper infrastructure to fibre. Growth in many markets has slowed as a result of high broadband penetration, while the adoption of higher-rated services has in some cases been hampered by the lack of applications sufficient to justify the additional access cost to consumers. Markets in the less developed southern and eastern countries have sought to catch up with their northern counterparts, and much more substantial growth is expected from these countries in coming years. There remains much intra-and inter-platform competition, driven by regulatory measures to improve access to incumbent networks, and by government and EC-level investment in backbone networks.
Technological developments in the cable, DSL and fibre platforms have helped transform broadband from a PC-based service to a one which has become a fundamental component of many households’ entertainment, through offering services such as VoD and IPTV. The main growth driver is now fibre, particular with FttH which has emerged as the preferred albeit more costly architecture, followed by cable and DSL. Cable networks have seen considerable subscriber growth as a result of operator investment in DOSCSIS3.0 technology, and the widespread deployment of data services providing up to 200Mb/s. With DSL, a number of operators are investing in the new vectoring technology, which will help extend the shelf life of DSL infrastructure for a few years. Vectoring remains a stop-gap measure allowing operators to provide faster services at a lower cost, though fibre remains the goal in the long term. This report presents statistics and analysis on Europe’s fixed-line broadband market, including developments in ADSL, cable and fibre technologies, and noting the status of EU and government policies to encourage broadband take-up to the end of the decade.
State aid for broadband increases as economic stimulus continues; EC targets at least 50% of households to have 100Mb/s; EC promoting broadband as a universal service; Digital Agenda for economic recovery; DSL trials providing 700Mb/s; HFC networks taking larger share of super-fast connections; decline of DSL as customers adopt mobile broadband and FttH; economic benefits of broadband revealed; broadband reaches 95% of all citizens; DOCSIS3.1 developments; EC’s €9.2 billion injection into regional broadband infrastructure projects slashed to €1 billion.