At the end of June 2017, more than three quarters of homes in the 28 countries in the European Union (EU28) had access to high-speed broadband services. For the first time, 4G LTE availability matched 3G HSPA networks, in terms of the number of households covered. Published by the European Commission, the Broadband Coverage in Europe 2017 study was conducted by business information provider IHS Markit and broadband analyst firm, Point Topic.
“VSDL was the fastest-growing fixed broadband technology for the sixth consecutive year, supported by the rapid rollout of VDSL networks in Italy and the Czech Republic. Both countries reported double-digit increases over the previous year,” said James Joyner, senior research analyst, IHS Markit. “Fibre-to-the-home (FTTP) coverage increased at a faster rate than in the previous iteration of the study, aided by deployments in France and Spain. However, growth in DOCSIS 3.0 networks has slowed, with the most densely populated areas already reached.”
Other key findings in the report include the following:
Out of the 31 countries studied, 22 reported NGA coverage above 80 per cent
As was the case last year, Malta was the only country to record complete coverage for the NGA technology category, while Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland and Portugal recorded coverage levels above 95 per cent. Greece was the lowest-ranked country in terms of the proportion of households covered by NGA networks. In addition, in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Poland and France, NGA networks covered less than 75 per cent of households, in the first half of 2017.
Contrasting network strategies contribute to large differences in terms of FTTP coverage among member states
In terms of FTTP availability, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania and Spain led the EU28, with FTTP networks reaching more than 70 per cent of households in all four countries. Operators in these countries have focused on FTTP deployments rather than upgrading existing DSL networks to VDSL. As a result, VDSL networks reached less than 20 per cent of households in all four countries at the end of June 2017. In contrast, fewer than 3 per cent of households in Belgium, Greece and the UK had access to FTTP networks at the end of June 2017.
“Operators in Belgium and the UK have prioritised VDSL upgrades over FTTP deployment, therefore both countries are ranked in the top four EU member states in terms of VDSL availability,” Joiner said. “With VDSL upgrades near completion, operators in Belgium and the UK have announced plans to accelerate FTTP deployment, which will begin to be reflected in next year’s study.”