Broadband penetration in the EU is now on par with the US and Japan, according to a bi-annual broadband survey from the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA). ECTA attributes the 16% growth in broadband lines over the last six months to increased competition from new telecom entrants employing local loop unbundling and cable. Meanwhile in the US, broadband penetration jumped 1.32 percentage points to 84.75% among active Internet users in August 2007.
EU15 Passes US in Broadband Penetration
Northern Europe leads all European countries in broadband penetration, according to ECTA’s Broadband Scorecard for the first quarter of 2007. The Netherlands lead all European countries surveyed with 33% broadband penetration, followed by Denmark at 31.4% (Q406 data), Finland at 28.1%, Sweden at 27.4%, and the UK at 23.1% broadband penetration (see Figure 1). ECTA attributes the success of higher ranking countries to competition through local loop unbundling and cable. Countries with lower penetration rates often lacked significant unbundling competition.
“For the first time, average penetration in the EU15 countries is, at 19.9%, comparable with the average penetration of 19.6% in
the US and 20.2% in Japan.” – Source: ECTA
Figure 1: Evolution of Broadband Penetration Rates in Europe Q103 to Q107
Competition Boosts European Broadband Penetration
Countries that employed competition through cable and local loop unbundling, a process where competitors rent the last mile from established telecoms, ranked higher than countries that did not (see Figure 2). The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden all had penetration rates above 25% while Greece, Poland, Slovakia, and Cyprus remained below 10% with 0.4% or less local loop unbundling and little impact from cable.
Figure 2: European Broadband Penetration Composition by Country
Home Connectivity in the US
US broadband penetration grew to 84.75% among active Internet users in August 2007. Narrowband users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 15.25% of active Internet users, down 1.32 percentage points from 16.57% in July 2007 (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Web Connection Speed Trends – Home Users (US)
Broadband Growth Trends in the US
In August 2007, broadband penetration in US homes grew 1.32 percentage points to 84.65%, up from 83.43% in July. This increase of 1.32 points is above the average increase in broadband of 0.73 points per month over the last six months (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Broadband Adoption Growth Trend – Home Users (US)
Extrapolated from Nielsen//NetRatings data
As of August 2007, 94.79% of US workers connected to the Internet with broadband, up 0.58 percentage points from the 94.21% share in July. At work 5.21% connect at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Web Connection Speed Trends – Work Users (US)
- European Communications Telecommunications Association (ECTA)
- Data adapted from ECTA’s Broadband Scorecard of September 5, 2007.
- Provided the US broadband penetration data for active Internet users for the Bandwidth Report.