Broadband divide narrows in EU
By Matthew Sparkes
Posted on 1 Dec 2008 at 10:21
The rate of broadband adoption across the EU is levelling out, as the poorest performers increase their spending on internet infrastructure.
The difference between the best and worst adoption rates has fallen from 28.4% in July 2007 to 27.7% in July this year, claims a new EU report.
The gap may be narrowing, but it is still extremely significant. Denmark currently has 37.2% of households connected to the internet by broadband, while Bulgaria still lags behind at less than 10%.
There are currently nine EU countries that have higher broadband adoption rates than the US, which currently sits at around 25%, with Denmark and the Netherlands both surpassing it by more than 10%.
17 million fixed broadband lines were installed between July 2007 and 2008 in the EU, bringing the total number of connections to more than 100 million. During this period the highest growth was seen in Malta, Germany and Cyprus.
"Broadband growth remains strong, with the top EU countries firmly remaining world leaders in broadband penetration," says EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding. "I am also glad that other countries in Europe are catching up. Under the European Economic Recovery Plan presented by the Commission this week, we plan to channel a further one billion euros of EU funding into high-speed internet infrastructures."
High speed connections currently make up only a small percentage of broadband connections, though. While almost three quarters of lines exceed 2Mb/sec, less than 13% are 10Mb/sec or faster and only 1.4% are 100Mbps.
Despite rising numbers of fixed broadband connections, mobile broadband subscriptions continue to climb. As of July 2008, there were 34 million subscribers in the UK - excluding the UK and the Netherlands. Some reports suggest that mobile broadband could overtake fixed connections by 2010 in the UK.
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