UK leads the EU big 5 for superfast broadband, says Analysys Mason

By Matt Yardley

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 BT-commissioned report, International benchmark of superfast broadband, aims to answer the question of whether the UK is falling behind its international peers in superfast broadband services. It presents factual data up to 2012 alongside Analysys Mason’s forecasts to 2018.

The research shows that with more than 70% 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. 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% of premises in the UK could access superfast broadband at the end of 2012. This compares with 66% in Germany, the next best performing country. Analysys Mason expects that by 2018, 95% 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% 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%.

• First for average measured downstream bandwidth, based on data from Ookla. At 22.6Mbit/s (as of 4 September 2013; the Ookla value is a 30-day rolling mean and so the value changes over time), the UK leads the top five European economies.

• First for the overall competitiveness of the broadband market.

• Third for the price of superfast broadband. 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.

Link to report:  

About the author and Analysys Mason

Matt Yardley is partner at Analysys Mason.

Analysys Mason is a global specialist adviser on telecoms, media and technology (TMT). At the core of Analysys Mason’s offering are two key services: consultancy and research. To support these, we have developed skills and techniques that deliver tangible results for clients the world over. One of the features that sets our consultancy work apart is our exclusive focus on TMT. We are specialists, and proud of it. Analysys Mason works with clients across the TMT sector; regulators, operators, vendors, financial institutions and other market players. We never forget that the point of consultancy is to make a tangible difference to our clients’ businesses. In terms of our research, many of the world’s leading network operators, vendors, regulators and investors subscribe to our research programmes and rely on our insight to inform their decision making. Clients also have the opportunity to engage one-to-one with our subject-matter experts for tailored advice on critical business issues.

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