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UK leads Europe “big 5” for superfast broadband

December 2, 2013

super-fast-broadbandThe UK is outperforming the major European economies on key measures for superfast broadband, according to a study by Analysys Mason. The report reveals that the UK is ahead of its European peers on measures such as coverage, take-up, average speeds and prices – boasting the most competitive broadband market out of all countries featured in the report.

The research, commissioned by BT, shows that with more than 70 per cent of premises able to access superfast broadband at the end of 2012, the UK already leads France, Germany, Italy and Spain in terms of availability – and the report predicts it will be among the best-performing countries globally by 2018.

“There is an ongoing debate about the UK’s performance relative to other countries for superfast broadband,” says Analysys Mason Partner Matt Yardley. “This report shows that the UK does very well on most superfast broadband benchmarks today, and by 2018 it will continue to outpace its major European competitors and even outperform Japan and the USA on some measures.”

Relative to the other big 5 European countries, the UK ranks:

– First for superfast broadband coverage. Over 70 per cent of premises in the UK could access superfast broadband at the end of 2012. This compares with 66 per cent in Germany, the next best performing country. Analysys Mason expects that by 2018, 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 2012 than elsewhere in the big 5, with 18 per cent of premises taking services with superfast speeds. By 2018, Analysys Mason predicts that half of UK premises will subscribe to superfast broadband, compared with the Western European average of 42 per cent.
– First for average measured downstream bandwidth, based on data from Ookla. At 22.6Mbit/s (see note to Editors), the UK leads the top five European economies.
– First for the overall competitiveness of the broadband market.

Prices in the UK are similar to the average price in the big 5, though higher than the lowest-priced offers in France and Germany. Of the incumbent operators in the five major economies, BT Retail’s prices are the lowest when compared with those of France Telecom, Telefónica, Deutsche Telecom and Telecom Italia.

Only smaller European countries – such as The Netherlands and Sweden – that have extensive cable coverage or where superfast connections have been available for longer have better or comparable average speeds, coverage, and take-up of superfast broadband than the UK.

The report also concludes that the UK government’s gradualist approach to supporting rural broadband will cost significantly less than government initiatives in the other four countries, while still providing extensive coverage of superfast broadband.

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