Mapping broadband in Estonia

Broadband Coverage in Europe in 2012 - key results for Estonia

One of the European Union’s most ambitious targets is to make sure that all its citizens can get access to superfast broadband at home, if they choose, by 2020. A new study by Point Topic shows Estonia is now 61% towards achieving that aim.

National coverage by broadband technology

We made significant revisions to the coverage profile for Estonia in 2012 in light of new data. Estonia presents a very interesting case study for broadband coverage which is common in Eastern Europe and very different to the typical picture for Western Europe.

Estonia was behind the European Union average for standard and standard fixed broadband coverage, but slightly ahead for total NGA coverage. None of its rural households had access to NGA services at the end of 2012.

Estonia broadband coverage by technology combination

Estonia broadband coverage by technology combination – BCE 2012

The technology profile presents some interesting findings. Estonia reported the lowest coverage of DSL in any of the study countries at 39.3%. This coverage is much lower than the value published in 2011, which was 90% – we now estimate that coverage at the end of 2011 was 38.5%.

The higher number reported last year corresponded to the total number of copper pairs in Estonia. But not every single copper pair was automatically DSL-ready in 2012. Many were still only able to deliver telephony services, since the quality of copper pairs in the network in Estonia can fluctuate significantly. Therefore the total number of DSL lines remains signficantly smaller than the total number of copper pairs. The figures provided for DSL represent the potential number of DSL lines in Estonia.

Given the very low coverage of DSL, it is suprising then that Estonia did not also report the lowest standard fixed broadband coverage in the study. The country’s cable network is extensive, with more than 70% of households covered at the end of the year and ranked sixth overall in the whole study. Estonia is also ranked seventh overall for WiMAX coverage, with an estimated 40% of households covered in 2012. It also ranks above the EU average for FTTP coverage, which is also considered in the standard fixed coverage combination. There was only a slight overlap between DSL and FTTP technologies, which was taken into account when calculating the overall technology coverage.

Overall Estonia almost made up for its undersupplied DSL network by providing a competent range of other services.

Looking at its NGA technologies, just over 70% of the cable network had been upgraded to Docsis 3 (compared to an EU average of 90%). The combination of Docsis 3 and FTTP delivered over 60% NGA coverage across the country. Typically in Estonia, when operators upgrade the network, they choose to upgrade to FTTP rather than VDSL – VDSL is therefore mostly absent. It was estimated that NGA coverage did not extend to the most rural households in Estonia in 2012.

Estonia also falls behind the EU average for HSPA coverage in 2012, reporting only 87% coverage. As is the case in some other countries reporting lower than average coverage, we believe that this is a result of Estonia applying more rigorous standards for what actually constitutes coverage – in this case excluding coverage which delivers under 58 dBμV/m signal strength.

In terms of LTE, Estonia presents one of the most advanced networks in the study, reporting 70% coverage in 2012 and ranking third overall within the study.

Estonia is one of the four study countries with no reported satellite broadband services. Whilst we believe that the country does have some satellite coverage, there were no distributors for satellite services in Estonia in 2012 – meaning that it was not commercially available to its citizens.

Estonia total broadband coverage by technology

Estonia total broadband coverage by technology – BCE 2012

Estonia rural broadband coverage by technology

Estonia rural broadband coverage by technology – BCE 2012

Regional coverage by broadband technology

Põhja-Eesti, situated on the northern coast of Estonia and including its capital Tallinn, was the only region in Estonia to report 100% standard fixed broadband coverage. All other regions had coverage between 75% and 85%.

Estonia standard broadband coverage map

Estonia standard broadband coverage map

Estonia NGA broadband coverage map

Estonia NGA broadband coverage map

In terms of NGA coverage, again the capital region reported the highest coverage. The north-eastern industrial region of Kirde-Eesti reported 65% NGA coverage. The more rural areas of Estonia then reported between 35 and 45% coverage.

Data tables for Estonia

Find out more

Point Topic maps broadband coverage in every square kilometre across Europe. For more details, please visit the Broadband Competition Map of Europe page or contact Tim Johnson at or telephone +44(0)20 3301 3303.