Broadband numbers in the European Union for the first quarter of this year were known. The figures obtained by the European Association of Telecommunications Operators (ECTA) show that Portugal had a service penetration of 16.4 percent in the period, lower than the EU average of 27, where broadband penetration reached 20 , 9 percent.
The figures put Portugal in 18th place on the table, with a growth in the number of users in the period of 12.2 percent, also below average. For the association of operators in Portugal (Apritel), the 1.7 million connections existing at the end of March is little.
The association stresses Portugal’s distance from other EU countries in terms of broadband growth (the average growth rate at 27 was 20.9 percent) and highlights the performance of countries such as Malta or Greece, where in the period growth of 80.6 and 66.3 percent. He considers that the numbers strongly compromise the Portuguese intention to «remain at the forefront of the Information Society».
ECTA data, based on information provided by regulators, show that the dominant technology in Portugal remained DSL at the end of the first quarter, responsible for 64 percent of existing connections. The cable was the second most chosen with 35 percent.
Apritel guarantees that ECTA’s numbers also reveal the leadership of new operators in innovation across Europe, referring to the development of offers with a speed higher than 10 Mbps, supported on optical fiber, but emphasizes the fact that these innovations continue to circulate on lines of incumbent operators. The association calls for a stronger intervention by regulators in order to allow a faster development of services supported by this technology, an aspect that it considers critical to advance the market.
For Portugal, Apritel advocates the creation of an autonomous body for the development and management of a single shared fiber optic network, or for functional separation of the incumbent operator’s network activity. In the association’s view, this would be a way to overcome the stagnation in which the country finds itself.