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UK tipped as ‘big five’ broadband leader

The UK will outperform other major European countries on a range of fixed telecoms measures for the next five years, and become one of the best performing countries worldwide by 2020, according to a new international benchmarking study by global telecoms adviser Analysys Mason.

The report confirms that the UK is already ahead of its European peers on measures such as superfast broadband coverage, take-up and average speeds. The UK also compares well with the countries often cited as the most advanced in the world, such as Japan and South Korea.

The study – International benchmarking report – which was commissioned by BT and presents factual data up to 2014 alongside Analysys Mason’s forecast to 2020, marks the UK as the most competitive broadband market of all the countries it features.

“The debate continues to rage over how the UK fares when it comes to broadband speeds, coverage and pricing, and this report shows it is doing very well,” says Analysys Mason Partner Matt Yardley.

“The UK consistently outperforms the other four major European countries, and is often competitive against the best-performing countries in the world.”

“For example, when it comes to superfast broadband coverage, the UK is around three years ahead of the Western European average, and by 2020 we expect the UK will be ahead of the USA and similar to Japan.”

“The earlier and more rapid roll out of superfast connectivity has resulted in higher adoption in the UK than in the other European countries.”

The study found that, relative to the other ‘big five’ European countries, the UK ranks:

  • First for superfast broadband coverage: more than 78 per cent of premises could access superfast broadband at the end of 2014 in the UK. This compares with 77 per cent in Germany, the next best-performing country, and 34 per cent in Italy, the worst performing of the big five. Analysys Mason expects that by 2018, more than 95 per cent of UK premises will have access to superfast broadband, keeping it ahead of the other large European markets

  • First for superfast broadband take-up: adoption was higher in the UK at the end of 2014 than anywhere else in the big five, at 28 per cent of premises. By 2020, Analysys Mason predicts that 78 per cent of UK premises will subscribe to superfast broadband, outperforming the big five and even Japan (64 per cent) and the USA (69 per cent)

  • First for the overall competitiveness of the broadband market: based on retail market shares

  • Second for retail broadband prices: supported by the UK’s wholesale prices which are between the lowest available and the European average.

The report concludes that the UK government’s approach to extending superfast broadband access is costing less than state-supported initiatives in other countries, and it is exploiting private-sector investment to a greater degree in providing superfast coverage in rural areas.

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