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IP/06/1122

Brussels, 25 August 2006

Household survey: Telecoms and broadband access in Europe

Almost one in four EU households is now connected to the internet via high-speed “broadband” links. Broadband’s popularity grows with household size – only 12% of single households have it, compared with 34% of those with four members or more. And, of those households that have only “narrowband” internet connections, 40% do not wish to upgrade, either because they are satisfied with the speed of their dial-up connection or because they do not use the internet enough to justify the higher cost of broadband. So says an EU-wide survey of 25,000 representative households, conducted between 7 December 2005 and 11 January 2006. The survey findings are summarized in a special Eurobarometer report published today as a contribution to the ongoing public debate on the review of the EU’s regulatory framework for electronic communications of 2002 (see IP/06/874).

“This survey provides useful insights into consumer behaviour in today’s constantly-evolving communication services market”, noted Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “I see these figures – in particular the fact that so many people are satisfied to stay with slow speed internet access – as a challenge to operators and service providers to develop more attractive broadband offers both in terms of content and in terms of price, and I will do my part to ensure that enhanced competition will promote such a development. I am pleased about the greater public awareness of the EU-wide emergency number '112', but I urge Member States to continue their efforts to publicise this number among EU citizens.”

To gather the data made public today, about 1000 face-to-face interviews per country were conducted between 7 December 2005 and 11 January 2006 in households in the 25 EU Member States. The respondents, aged 15 years and over, are representative of the total population, based on the sampling methodology defined as part of the standard Eurobarometer survey.

Key findings of the household survey

  • The average proportion of single households with only a mobile phone (i.e. no fixed line) climbs to 58% for the 15-29 years age group and falls to 6% only for persons aged 60 years old and over
  • Among the benefits of mobile phones, the ability to be contacted at any place, any time is valued more highly (34% of replies) than the freedom to make calls (19%).
  • Only 15% of households use public payphones, the main reason being when the mobile phone is out of credit, out of battery or out of range.
  • 82% of households equipped with an Internet connection have anti-virus software, but only 58% have anti-spam software.
  • In the EU 25 overall, more than one in three respondents were able to cite 112 as the single emergency number to call from any location in the EU against one in five as measured five years ago.
  • Almost all EU households (97%) have access to voice telephony services, 61% have both fixed and mobile phones and 18% have only mobiles.

Penetration rates for key electronic communication services :


Average proportion of EU households
Overall telephone access (fixed and/or mobile)
97%
Mobile telephone access
80%
Fixed telephone access
78%
Both fixed and mobile telephone access
61%
Mobile but no fixed telephone access
18%
Fixed but no mobile telephone access
18%


Broadband Internet access
23%
DSL access
19%
Cable-modem access
4%


Television
97%
Aerial
48%
Cable-TV
32%
Satellite
22%

Further information
The full text of the report can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/info_centre/documentation/studies_ext_consult/index_en.htm

The household survey is made public today together with three studies conducted for the Commission in the context of the Review 2006 of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications. See IP/06/1123.


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