Broadband is ‘digital oxygen’ for Europe’s prosperity

25 Nov 2010

The European Commission (EC) vice-president for the Digital Agenda has described broadband as “digital oxygen” and essential for Europe’s prosperity following the publication of statistics on broadband connections in Europe today.

The research found that in July 2010, 29pc of EU broadband lines had speeds of at least 10 megabites (MBps) which was up from 15pc the previous year – something which the EC believes is of the utmost importance.

“Fast broadband is digital oxygen, essential for Europe’s prosperity and well-being. Takeup and available speeds are improving, but we need to do more to reach our very fast broadband targets.

“In particular, we need urgent agreement on our proposal to ensure radio spectrum is available for mobile broadband, for which demand is growing very fast,” said EC vice-president for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes.

Greater need for broadband

There is a greater need for better broadband services more than ever, with entertainment and business becoming further dependent on the service operating at optimal capacity, which is reflected by the continuing increase in broadband takeup across the EU.

There was an average of 25.6 subscriptions for every 100 citizens (23.9 one year earlier) and an annual growth in mobile broadband of 45pc, with six mobile broadband dedicated access devices (USB keys or dongles) per 100 citizens, especially in Finland, Austria and Denmark.

Nine EU countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK) have levels of broadband takeup above the US levels of 26.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, according to OECD May 2010 statistics.

Greece and the Czech Republic made the best progress in the last year (measured by per capita growth).

Digital Agenda

The EU target – as outlined in the Digital Agenda for Europe – of giving every European access to basic broadband by 2013 and ultra-fast broadband by 2020, is still some distance away, however, as the number of broadband lines grew only 8pc throughout the EU – slower than the 11pc growth of a year before.

The Digital Agenda 2020 targets are at least 30 Mbps available for all, and half of European households subscribing to speeds above 100 Mbps.

For more information on Commission’s findings, click here.