Last updated: 22 Dec 2009 Update History
Report Status: Archived
Report Pages: 202
Analyst: Henry Lancaster
This report provides 654 statistical tables for the Internet, broadband and convergence activities, both on a regional and national level for the major 18 Western European countries.
Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- December 2009 (3rd Edition)
Next publication date:- On request
The telecom markets in most Western European countries showed renewed vigour in 2009, a trend which is likely to continue through to 2012 at least as digital switchover, a new regulatory framework and government economic stimulus investment combine with technological developments which better support converged services.
In economic terms, the telecoms sector is one of Europe’s most important, with annual turnover expected to approach €300 billion in 2009, and accounting for around 4% of jobs in the EU. Market liberalisation since the mid 1980s has brought significant benefits for consumers, and competition together with regulatory measures have brought down prices for all services.
In broadcasting, the switch to digital TV has already been completed in some countries. When analogue transmission ceases in 2012, Europe will be able to exploit valuable spectrum which has been locked up for some 50 years. Most governments have assigned certain spectrum to specific purposes, or will allow its use on a technology-neutral basis, meaning that it can be utilised for a variety of purposes including digital TV and mobile broadband. This will dramatically push forward consumer use of converged services, made more widely available as operators seek to popularise bundled packages.
The broadband and Internet sectors have also been revitalized by a significant focus on fibre. Incumbent operators have largely been motivated to pursue FttH or FttB as a result of the commercial success of their main competitors. This is particularly the case in countries such as Italy and France. Elsewhere, especially in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, fibre deployments have been pushed by the efforts of municipalities and utilities. Finland and Spain have led the pack by legislating for broadband to be a universal service, and other countries are likely to follow as 2010 progresses.
By early 2010, the EU will have an average broadband penetration rate of about 27%, a growth of four percentage points year-on-year. Much of this growth has been due to the continuing momentum of the mobile broadband sector as mobile operators upgrade their networks to support higher capacity technologies. Several operators plan to launch commercial LTE services in 2010 and 2011, which will enable mobile broadband to become a legitimate replacement for fixed-line broadband in terms of data rates available. Broadband connections are increasingly faster, with about 80% of lines having download speeds of 2Mb/s or higher. The cable sector has undergone an impressive development, with many operators offering up to 100Mb/s services using EuroDOSCIS3.0 technology.
Denmark and the Netherlands remain world leaders in broadband take up, with nearly 40% population penetration. DSL remains the most diffused broadband access technology, though its 11% growth in 2009 is dwarfed by the 40% growth in the number of FttH connections. Latvia has the highest proportion of fibre lines over the total number of broadband lines, while Sweden has the largest number of fibre lines. The improved capacity of broadband infrastructure will in coming years further stimulate consumer take-up of converged services, particularly IPTV and VoD, while it appears more likely that during 2010 and 2011 mobile TV will enter the popular conscience and overcome the barriers of cost and functionality which has held the market back thus far.
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