EU Sets Broadband Goal Of 30 Percent By 2010

    March 20, 2008

In order to stimulate economic growth top regulators of the European Commission said they want to increase broadband coverage in the European Union from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2010.

Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said eight of the EU’s 27 member states have surpassed the United States in broadband penetration, with Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden leading the way with penetration rates over 30 percent at the end of 2007.

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"These EU countries, together with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, all had broadband penetration rates higher than the US (22.1%) in July 2007," Reding said in the EU progress report on the telecom market.

Reding believes increasing the use of broadband would make the retail sector more competitive, providing people with more choice while reducing prices.

The European telecommunications market is worth $474 billion (300 billion euro) accounting for 2 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product and grew 1.9 percent last year. Last year was also the fifth consecutive year of increased investment in the sector, exceeding 50 billion euros, similar to the U.S. and more than China and Japan put together.

About 19 million broadband lines were added in the EU in 2007, the equivalent of more than 50,000 households everyday. The broadband sector generated estimated revenues of 62 billion euros and Europe’s overall penetration reached 20 percent.

"The European regulatory model is designed to increase competition in the telecoms market and this certainly is starting to pay off," said Reding. "However, the job is not yet done. Competition is limited for access to the fixed network which is still provided to 86.5% of customers over the incumbent’s infrastructure."