Broadband connections in Europe continue to grow in speed and in the number of users. The latest data revealed by the European Commission, referring to July 2010, show that 29% of broadband lines in the EU had a speed equal to or greater than 10 megabits per second, a significant increase compared to the 15% registered in the previous year.
The penetration rate of broadband connections is now approaching 26 subscriptions per 100 citizens and mobile broadband continues to register an accelerated growth, with the existence of 6 specific connection devices (USB pens or dongles) for each 100 citizens.
Despite the increase in numbers, rates are still far from the targets set by the European Commission, which wanted to have all citizens connected by broadband by 2013, accelerating towards higher speed technologies (such as fiber and LTE) by 2020. On this date, CE wants to have minimum connections of 30 Mbps for all citizens and the adhesion of half of the households to broadband contracts with speeds above 100 Mbps.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission and responsible for the Digital Agenda, admitted that Europe needs to do more to achieve defined goals and recalled that an urgent agreement is needed for the availability of radio spectrum for mobile broadband, whose demand is to grow very quickly.
In a more detailed analysis of the numbers, it is easy to see that only 5% of Internet accesses have a speed equal to or greater than 30 Mbps and that only 0.5% accelerates above 100 Mbps.
In July 2010, close to a third of the broadband lines in the EU had speeds above 10 Mbps (15% in July 2009). In general, greater transmission capacity provides customers with a greater and better choice of services, at lower prices per megabit. 5% of lines in the EU offer a throughput that is, on average, equal to or greater than 30 Mbps (only 0.5% offer a throughput equal to or greater than 100 Mbps).
Connections at 2 Mbps still dominate the European panorama, with the speed used in about 60% of connections, and there are still more than 10% of lines with speeds below 2 Mbps.
In July 2010 there were around 128 million broadband fixed lines in the EU, of which 9 million were installed as of July 2009.
The Netherlands and Denmark continue to lead the list of countries with the most broadband connections worldwide, with around 80% of households enjoying the highest speed, and nine countries in the European Union are ahead of the figures recorded in the States United.
In terms of connection technology, DSL remains the most used in Europe, with 100 million lines, but Docsis cable connections and fiber to home (FTTH) are gaining share, although the latter is still responsible for only 1.7% of calls in Europe.
Mobile broadband connections continue to grow at an accelerated rate, with Portugal in the leading countries as a percentage of access. The current penetration rate for mobile broadband in Europe is 6%, but countries such as Finland (21.5%), Austria (16.7%) and Portugal (12.1%), far exceed these figures.
Portugal is also well above the European average for fixed connections with speeds above 10 Mbps, which are more than half of fixed connections. According to the table presented by the European Commission, connections above this speed are practically meaningless.
It is recalled that just last week, Anacom revealed its statistics for Next Generation Networks, with broadband connections of greater speed, referring to the national market, which use data until the end of September.
The Portuguese market regulator indicates that there were 1.4 million cabled households with fiber optic infrastructures and 3.4 million households prepared to receive new generation services through EuroDOCSIS 3.0 technology. However, only 225 thousand subscriptions to these services were registered until the end of the third quarter of 2010.