EU Broadband Penetration Reaches 72 Percent

By Gary Kim December 18, 2012

It’s getting harder all the time to determine just how connected people are to the Internet. In the past, the task was relatively simple. One could simply compare either the percentage of homes able to buy broadband, or the percentage actually buying broadband, with the base of households, or occupied households.

These days it is tougher to measure, in large part because a majority of all broadband access now uses a mobile connection, and broadband increasingly is becoming something a “person” uses, not a “place.”

In fact, mobile broadband seems to have surpassed fixed broadband in 2008. By the end of 2010, there were over twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions than wireline broadband subscriptions, according to the Broadband Strategies handbook. 

Nevertheless, fixed broadband penetration in the EU27 is now robust, with more than three quarters of households having access to the Internet (dial-up or broadband, presumably using a fixed connection) in 2012, compared with just under half in 2006. In 2012, 72 percent of EU27 households had access to a broadband connection, compared with 30 percent in 2006, the EU says.

In every EU27 nation, at least 50 percent of households had access to a broadband connection (presumably meaning that percentage of households actually buys broadband service).

While the level of Internet access increased in all EU27 nations between 2006 and 2012, differences, however, remain significant, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, says.

In 2012, shares of Internet access of 90 percent and over were recorded in the Netherlands (94 percent), Luxembourg (93 percent) and Denmark and Sweden (both 92 percent), while shares just over 50 percent were registered in Bulgaria (51 percent), Greece and Romania (both 54 percent). That statistic presumably measures the percentage of Internet consumers using broadband.

Sweden (87 percent) registered the highest share of broadband connections, followed by Denmark and Finland (both 85 percent), the Netherlands (83 percent), Germany (82 percent) and the United Kingdom (80 percent in 2011).

Those figures suggest that broadband adoption has grown about 20 percent in the leading countries, since about 2009, when Denmark broadband adoption was about 74 percent, for example.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Editor

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