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IP/05/642

Brussels, 1 June 2005

High-speed internet connections growing fast, say Commission figures

Take-up of high-speed “broadband” internet connections is growing fast, according to figures released today by Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. There are now 40 million broadband lines in the EU, an increase of 70% on last year. This represents 45 000 new broadband lines on average per day, up from 29 000 per day in 2003. The surge in broadband take-up, driven by competition among market players to provide consumers with faster, lower-priced internet access, bodes well for the “i2010” strategy, tabled today (see IP/05/643), to boost jobs and growth in the digital economy. New entrants are stepping up investment in broadband infrastructure to build market share. Some European countries are among the top performers in the world while others are lagging behind.

“These broadband figures are very impressive and extremely encouraging for the future, commented Commissioner Reding”. “Broadband is central to Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity. Growth in broadband supply and take-up leading to lower prices, greater choice and more innovative offerings for business and consumers. We need to keep up this momentum. Clearly a supportive regulatory environment is a key factor and I reiterate my call for full and effective implementation of the regulatory framework for electronic communications in all Member States.’

Broadband enables faster and better-quality access to the internet and content-rich services. It is a powerful source of productivity gains, improvements in living standards, employment and social cohesion. 16.5 million new broadband lines were added in 2004, which compares with 10.7 million lines added in 2003. Growth accelerated during the second half of the year, with 9.9 million lines added.

New players in the market have increased their market share, which is now at 46% overall, up from 43% one year ago.

However, while overall European performance is strong, the picture across individual Member States is diverse. Broadband take-up is higher than 10% in 9 countries compared with only 4 such countries in January 2004. The Netherlands, with take-up of 19%, and Denmark with 18%, top the list and are among the best-performing countries in the world in terms of broadband take-up. Belgium, Sweden and Finland also show strong take-up.

There is a second group of countries where the take-up rate is around 8%. In the third group of countries, the penetration rate is below 6% of the population.

The Netherlands is also the fastest growing country for broadband with the UK, France, Denmark, and Finland also growing rapidly. Among the new Member States, Estonia is performing very well.

Details of these broadband figures can be found at :

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/ecomm/all_about/implementation_enforcement/index_en.htm


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