EU: Internet “too expensive”
October 15, 2010
By Chris Forrester
The EU’s latest broadband and Internet survey (eCommunications Household Survey), covering 27,000 homes throughout the EU, has found an average 43 per cent of those households do not have internet access. Almost 20 per cent cited cost as the reason. The EU is committed to making basic broadband available to all Europeans by 2013 (and super-fast 30Mb/s-100Mb/s services Europe-wide by 2020.
But it isn’t just the poorest 20 per cent who find internet access too expensive to fund. Even those who are connected grumbled about costs as well as poor service, and expressed anxieties about on-line security. The study’s data was gathered by TNS Opinion & Social at about 1000 homes in each EU nation, with fieldwork done at the end of last year.
According to the survey, 61 per cent of EU mobile phone users and 49 per cent of landline subscribers limit their calls because of cost concerns. In households with broadband connections, 30 per cent say that the download speed does not remain constant, 36 per cent experience connection breakdowns and 24 per cent say that performance does not match contract conditions.
The study says that 98 per cent of European homes have access to TV (up 2 per cent since 2007) with 34 per cent viewing via an aerial, 30 per cent viewing via cable, 24 per cent viewing via satellite and 23 per cent via digital terrestrial TV. 4 per cent were watching via the telephone network (DSL/ADSL).
There is little variation of TV ownership within the EU but the greatest access is within Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Hungary and Slovakia where 100 per cent of households have access to a television. The lowest incidence of households having access to a television remains in Finland, at 93 per cent (+1 percentage point compared to winter 2008). Latvia has the next lowest incidence at 96 per cent.
The apparent decreases in television penetration in French and Spanish households in winter 2008 have recovered in this new survey. Ninety seven percent of households in France have access to a television set (+4) and in Spain access is almost universal at 100 per cent (+7).
Eight countries have seen double digit growth in the incidence of digital terrestrial television since winter 2008; specifically in Spain (+48), Italy (+25), Czech Republic (+19), Belgium (+18), France (+14), Estonia (+12), Malta (+11) and Romania (+10). 24 per cent of European households are receiving their television transmission through satellite TV via a satellite dish. Receiving television through satellite TV is most prevalent in Austria (49 per cent) and Germany (47 per cent). Interestingly, in both Austria and Germany equal proportions of households use satellite and cable TV to receive the television transmission in each country. Satellite TV has shown the greatest percentage point growth in Ireland (+11) and Poland (+11) since winter 2008. The Greeks are also the lowest users of satellite TV.