Access to fixed and mobile high-speed broadband continues to grow in the European Union, with coverage becoming nearly ubiquitous.
More than 85% of households in the EU had access to LTE mobile services at the end of the first half of 2015, up 7% from 2014, and now available in every EU country, a new study says. As in the past several years, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark were the leaders in terms of LTE coverage, with 99 percent of households covered by LTE networks.
For online video services, fast mobile broadband is becoming increasingly important as more consumers use it for consuming premium video and music.
In rural areas, where fixed broadband network deployment has been spottier, LTE coverage increased by 9%, reaching 36% of household, said IHS in its most recent Digital Scorecard.
VDSL remains a key to coverage as very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) helped increase overall next-gen access (NGA) to 41% at the half-year mark from 38% at the end of 2014. VDSL remains as the fastest growing fixed broadband technology in the EU, giving operators a lower-cost strategy in next-generation broadband deployment compared to fiber.
In the first six months of 2015, Poland and Norway increased VDSL coverage grew by 14% and 11% respectively.
As for super-fast fiber coverage, Lithuania 95% and Latvia 85% had the highest fiber-to-the-premises coverage, with Portugal pushing into the Top 3 FTTP countries in Europe, growing 10% in the first half.
Fixed broadband coverage in rural areas remains problematic, with coverage nearly 7% behind the all-EU average at 91% versus
97%. Rural NGA coverage, however, remains a whopping 43% behind the rest of the EU. Operators are loathe to invest heavily in areas of low population density.
That hesitancy is hurting efforts to reach universal 30 Mbps coverage by 2020.
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