The study provides comprehensive data on 2017 retail prices of fixed broadband offers for consumers in the EU28, Iceland, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the USA. The five largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in each country were included. Data was collected from ISP websites between 10th and 24th October 2017.

photo of mulitcoloured fiberglass cables

Offers were analysed for Single Play (standalone internet), for Double Play with fixed telephony, Double Play with television services, and for Triple Play. Offers for each of the four bundles were assigned to several download speed baskets ranging from 0.144 Mbps to more than 1 Gbps.  To support valid cross-national comparison of retail prices of fixed broadband offers in each bundle and basket, consistent price normalisation procedures were applied. These take full account of features such as one-off fees, volume limits, discounts, different contract durations and varying telephony time limits.

Applying the normalised prices in Euro (PPPs) [1], it was found that the least expensive countries for fixed broadband in the EU in 2017 were Romania, Latvia, Hungary and Lithuania.  Prices differ considerably between the least and most expensive countries in the EU.

In general, prices have fallen since 2016 in all but one bundle and basket combinations, however to different degrees:

  • Retail prices for Single Play offers decreased slightly in the 12-30 Mbps basket (-2.1%), about -9% in the 30-100 Mbps basket and up to -19.6% in the 100+ Mbps basket.
  • Retail prices for bundles which include fixed telephony actually rose on average over the year in the 12-30 Mbps basket (+8.4%) [2], while they decreased -7.2%/-19% in the 30-100 Mbps/100+Mbps baskets.
  • A decrease in retail prices was recorded for all bundles including television services (-9.5%, 12-30 Mbps basket; -7.3%, 30-100 Mbps basket; -13.4%, 100 Mbps basket).
  • The largest decrease in retail prices was recorded for Triple Play offers in the 100+ Mbps basket (-24.3%), with 12-30 Mbps (-13.2%) and 30-100 Mbps (-14.5%) reaching double digits as well.

The following general country groupings can be observed:

  • Overall, Romania, Latvia and Hungary have the most attractive prices for broadband internet in the EU. The majority of offers in these countries belong to the cluster of the least expensive in the respective baskets.
  • France, Lithuania, Slovakia and Poland follow. France and Lithuania have low prices especially for Triple Play offers.
  • The Netherlands, Bulgaria and Estonia tend to have attractive prices for lower bandwidth offers, but tend to be in the cluster of more expensive countries for speeds above 100 Mbps.
  • Spain, Malta and Portugal have no offers belonging to the two less expensive clusters.

Comparison of EU28 prices with prices in selected non-European countries in 2017 yielded the following picture:

  • South Korea has the least expensive offers throughout all bundle and basket combinations; here, even the least expensive offers have advertised download speeds faster than 100 Mbps;
  • European citizens pay similar prices for ultra-fast broadband when compared with Japan; and
  • Fixed internet offers are more expensive in the USA and Canada compared to the EU, particularly in the case of ultra-fast broadband (>100 Mbps).  

More information:

  • Fixed broadband prices 2017 – Final Report
  • Fixed broadband prices 2017 – Executive Summary (EN) (FR)
  • Fixed broadband prices 2017 – Simulation Tool

Study reference: SMART number 2016/0044  

Footnotes

[1] PPPs or Purchasing Power Parities  are the rates of currency conversion that equalize the purchasing power of different currencies by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries. In their simplest form, PPPs are simply price relatives that show the ratio of the prices in national currencies of the same good or service in different countries. PPPs are also calculated for product groups and for each of the various levels of aggregation up to and including GDP.

[2] This is the only basket and bundle combination where prices have actually increased from 2015 to 2017, with an increase of +7.3% in the 2015-2016 comparison.