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Technology / Data Centre

EU still needs to invest €82bn to ensure superfast broadband connectivity

The European Union (EU) still has to invest around €82bn to meet the objective of 100% Next Generation Access (NGA) coverage that delivers a speed of at least 30 Mbps, according to a new report from Point Topic.

The report estimates that offering NGA services to the remaining Europe would probably require less investment than previously estimated.

EU, Broadband

The suggested €82bn is dominated by the €52bn cost for reaching rural areas, with €22bn required for the semi-rural sector, while the reserved €8bn would be sufficient top launch NGA to all the 148 million households that comprise Europe’s cities, towns and suburbs.

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According to the report, the €52bn approximate also assumes that superfast investment would be capped at an average of €2,000 per household.

Point Topic chief analyst, Tim Johnson, said that most of that amount will have to be funded by the taxpayer in one way or another and it is believed to be as much as they will stand for.

"But we think that a large proportion of rural Europe will get wired up on that basis," Johnson said.

Point Topic projects France, which is the most rural, requires the biggest investment of €17.5bn, while the UK needs only €7.5bn, with other medium-sized countries including Spain, Sweden, Greece and Ireland requiring relatively large investments.

The report reveals that even though almost all households in Europe have access to normal broadband services by late 2012, the EU still has major challenges in delivering high-speed broadband to all users around the continent.

The European Commission’s (EC) Digital Agenda Scoreboard targets offering basic quality broadband for all households by 2013, and must have access to high-speed broadband of about 30Mbps by 2020.

By late 2012, over 99.9% of households could have access to a basic broadband network, while, without satellite, about 99.4% of homes are covered by fixed, fixed-wireless and mobile technologies, with general coverage being consistent across the study countries.

According to the study, NGA services had been offered to 53.8% of European homes by late 2012.

EU, Broadband 1

The NGA coverage had already exceeded 90% in Malta, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg, at the end of 2012, while in France, Greece, Croatia and Italy, about 25% of homes were able to access to high-speed services, the report reveals.

The study also revealed that the Docsis 3 cable covered about 40% of homes, followed by VDSL at 25% with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) covering 12% of households.
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