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Research conducted by IHS and Valdani, Vicari & Associati on the availability of broadband services across all European Union member states has been published by the European Commission (EC).
For a second year running, IHS Technology provided the EC with data on availability of broadband services by various technologies in all European Union Member States. The EC’s Digital Agenda Scoreboard shows a dramatic improvement in 4G LTE coverage and high-speed broadband availability.
“Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden lead the European Union, with 99 per cent of households covered by LTE,” said Alzbeta Fellenbaum, senior analyst at IHS Technology. “Other countries with outstanding performance in LTE coverage also include the Czech Republic and Malta, which saw an increase in coverage from 12 per cent to 91.9 per cent and from no coverage to 67 per cent, respectively.”
Data confirms preference for upgrading existing copper networks
The growth in overall NGA coverage can be primarily attributed to an increase in very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) coverage, which grew by over seven per centage points in the year, reaching 37.6 per cent of EU households by the end of 2014.
The fact that VDSL continues to be the fastest-growing NGA technology further solidifies the shift observed in 2013, with companies in many study countries refocusing their broadband deployment strategies towards upgrading existing copper networks rather than investing in the typically more costly (although generally longer-lived) deployment of fibre optic all the way to consumers’ homes.
“VDSL coverage grew significantly in a number of markets,” Fellenbaum said. “Most significant increases were recorded in Denmark, Austria, and Iceland, all reporting increases in VDSL coverage exceeding 30 per centage points.”
Super-fast FTTP broadband numbers up
Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) coverage — providing super-fast broadband connections — also increased, with services available to 18.7 per cent of European households. Baltic countries traditionally lead in availability of FTTP services. In 2014 Lithuania and Latvia remained the two countries with the highest FTTP coverage, with homes passed by FTTP reaching nearly 95 per cent of households in Lithuania and 83.2 per cent of households in Latvia.
However, the strongest growth in FTTP coverage compared to 2013 was recorded in Portugal and Spain, where FTTP coverage increased by 16.1 and 22.1 per centage points respectively, reaching 65.8 per cent of Portuguese and 44.8 per cent of Spanish homes.
“It is worth pointing out that in Portugal and Spain, network operators in recent years introduced a new strategic model based on network sharing and cooperation on joint roll-out of FTTP networks,” Fellenbaum said.