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Brussels, 9 October 2001

Commission Study shows Broadband Internet Access on the Rise in Europe

The European Commission today released a new independent study on the development of broadband Internet access platforms in the European Union. According to the study, cable modem and ADSL will rapidly become the leading technologies used to access the Internet at high-speed. However, the study also emphasises that there will be considerable differences in the pace of broadband take-up between Member States.

The study shows that current developments suggest that the take-up of broadband access in EU homes/SMEs will be faster in those Member States that:

  • Have the highest level of Internet penetration in homes/SMEs: demand for faster Internet is higher where the Internet is most popular.

  • Have been fastest in liberalising the telecommunications market (local loop): competition between ADSL providers leads to more attractive price packages.

  • Have the highest degree of cross-platform competition: roll-out is faster and prices more attractive where cable modem is in direct competition with ADSL.

Accessing the Internet over cable TV networks using a cable modem or over the traditional telephone copper network using the ADSL technology will rapidly become the most popular ways to get on-line at a high-speed in the EU. By 2005, they could together account for more than half of all Internet connections to homes/SMEs.

Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, said that: "The study clearly tells us that the future of the Internet is broadband. What Europe needs now is a forward-looking strategy to ensure that broadband Internet comes quickly and to all European citizens. It will be one of our top priorities in 2002."

However, ADSL and cable modem will only be transitory solutions. The transmission capacity of cable modem and ADSL will not exceed 2 Mbps at best for most users, which could prove insufficient for capacity-hungry multimedia applications and content. Fibre optic, on the other hand, provides almost unlimited bandwidth and is therefore a future proof technology. By 2010, fibre optic (to the curb or the home) could already account for about 30% of all Internet connections to EU homes/SMEs. But there are uncertainties regarding the pace of roll-out of fibre networks due to their high cost. So far, there is no viable business model for fibre optic as customers are unlikely to buy extra velocity just for the sake of it. Ultimately, the development of fibre access will be driven by user demand for Internet applications and contents that exceed the capacity of other Internet access technologies.

The study also benchmarks the EU against the USA and Japan.

For more information, check the full report on the "News & Library" section of the eEurope Web site:


[Graphic in PDF & Word format]


Pure fibre00001223456916
Fibre hybrid000123581114161717
Cable modem234451016182021242220
Dial up91888479715841262017141312

FWA = Fixed Wireless Access

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