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The European Broadband Scorecard from Ofcom - the scores are in

by Josie Sephton | 3月 14, 2013

Last week saw the publication of The European Broadband Scorecard, by Ofcom. The report, which looks at coverage, take-up, usage, price and choice of fixed and mobile broadband services in the UK, relative to other European countries, was originally proposed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to allow the Government to measure progress towards its ambition that the UK should have the best superfast broadband network of any major European country by 2015.

The Scorecard focuses on the UK's position within the five leading economies in Europe - the 'EU5' (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK).

The report has found that the UK performs well among the major EU market. On all measures of coverage, take-up, usage, price and choice, it ranks between third and first across the EU5. Specifically, the report finds that the UK:

  • has approximately the same fixed broadband take-up, at 32 connections per 100 people, as France and Germany (which have 33 and 35 connections per 100 people, respectively), and take-up in these three markets is considerably higher than in Italy and Spain;
  • has the greatest number of fixed broadband connections per household, with a penetration rate of 77%
  • is positioned third among the EU5 for superfast broadband coverage, slightly behind Germany and Spain but ahead of Italy and France in this very new market. In June 2012 superfast coverage had reached 65% of UK premises;
  • has high mobile broadband take-up - the second highest in the EU5 with 64 connections per 100 people, narrowly behind Spain, with 65 connections per 100;
  • has very wide internet usage - highest in the EU5, with 81% of individuals online on at least a weekly basis, and 71% having bought or ordered goods or services online in the past year;
  • benefits from highly competitive broadband markets. The proportion of fixed lines operated by the incumbent (BT, with 31%) is the lowest in the EU5, while the market share of the largest mobile operator (EE, with 33%) is the joint lowest;
  • has some of the lowest fixed and mobile broadband prices[1]. When assessing various measures of price, the UK leads the EU5 in eight metrics out of twelve.

Obviously, this is a fast changing picture. Coverage and take-up of superfast broadband has increased in the UK since much of the European-comparable data was collected. Operators are currently accelerating fibre roll-out, cable broadband speeds are being increased and the Government is proceeding with its programme of publicly-funded superfast deployment in rural areas, which gained European Commission approval in November.

Going forwards, Ofcom is planning to publish any future Scorecards - assuming that sufficiently robust and comparable data is available - as part of its annual International Communications Market Report. The European Broadband Scorecard is available for download from the Ofcom site.

[1] The price comparisons have been prepared by Ofcom using data supplied by Teligen

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