The Broadband Coverage in Europe study is designed to monitor the progress of EU Member States towards the specific broadband coverage objectives set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe – namely: ‘Universal Broadband Coverage with speeds at least 30 Mbps by 2020’ and ‘Broadband take-up of 50% of households with speeds at least 100 Mbps by 2020’.

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The collected data reflects the situation at the end of June 2018 compared to the situation at the end of June 2017. In editions of the study prior to 2015, the collected data reflected the situation at the end-of-year (i.e. end of December). The timeline of the data collection for the 2015 edition of the BCE study was moved forward in order to align reporting of the broadband coverage data with the publications of the Digital Economy and Society Index and the European Semester related country assessments.

This report covers 31 countries across Europe – the EU28, plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, and analyses the availability of nine broadband access technologies (DSL, VDSL, cable modem, DOCSIS 3.0, FTTP, WiMAX, HSPA, LTE and satellite) across each market, at national and rural levels. In addition, three combination categories indicating the availability of one or more forms of broadband coverage are also published. These cover overall fixed and mobile broadband availability, fixed broadband availability and next generation access (NGA) availability. Since the 2017 iteration of the study, DG CONNECT also requested a fourth combination coverage category to be estimated on a national level, establishing overall coverage of FTTP and DOCSIS 3.0 technologies. A rural estimation for overall FTTP and DOCSIS 3.0 coverage has been added in this year’s edition of the study.

The collected data show that nearly 223 million EU households (99.9%) had access to at least one of the main fixed or mobile broadband access technologies at the end of June 2018 (excluding satellite) and additional 3.5 million households gained access to broadband services compared to the end of June 2017.

Key findings

The results of the study show that by mid-2018:

  • the availability of fixed broadband services in the EU reached 96.7% households
  • next generation access services (VDSL, DOCSIS 3.0 and FTTP) were available to 83.1% of EU households. This equates to a 3.6 percentage point increase, or 10.9 million additional households, compared to the end of June 2017
  • rural broadband coverage continued to be lower than national coverage across EU Member States. 87.4% of rural EU homes were passed by at least one fixed broadband technology and just over half of them (52.3%) had access to high-speed next generation services.
  • DSL remained the dominant fixed access technology in the EU28, passing 92.2% of homes
  • VDSL services reached 56.7% of EU households, an increase of 3.3 percentage points during the twelve-month period
  • FTTP service availability continued to increase at a similar rate as in the previous year, rising by 3.5 percentage points to pass 29.6% of EU homes
  • Among mobile technologies, LTE coverage was higher than HSPE coverage for the first time in the history of the BCE study. LTE grew by 1 percentage point, reaching 98.9% of EU households, and HSPA grew by 0.2 percentage point, reaching 98.1% of EU households

Study reference number: SMART 2016/0043

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