Next generation broadband is and will be a hit with consumers in the EU28 – 130 million of them by 2020

Premises penetration ranges from under 30% in Greece to just short of 80% in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Latest European outputs from Point Topic

Our most recent work on broadband coverage and take-up in Europe strongly suggests that demand and adoption of next generation access broadband is strong and getting stronger.  Forecasts put the number of NGA subscribers in the EU28 at over 130 million by 2020.

Consumers are very keen on NGA when it is available.  If they can afford it they will quickly jump to the higher bandwidths and better symmetry that typifies NGA offerings.  This has been demonstrated again and again through various markets at various times.

There is an initial rush to subscribe to the improved services. The ‘early adopters’ then provide a nucleus for adoption, over a longer period, amongst those in the social or geographic halo of those with more bandwidth.

That’s not to say there isn’t resistance.  If a service isn’t going to provide a significant improvement in user experience or is too expensive then it won’t do very well.  The question of what users will demand in five years’ time particularly in terms of downstream bandwidth remains the topic of most contention today.

On the one hand we see high bandwidths, in the low 100s of megabits, doing reasonably well today but we are also seeing significant price resistance over 100Mbps.  So while cable companies in particular are able to upgrade their services with relatively little capex (compared to those with twisted pairs in the ground) it doesn’t follow that consumers will continue to use the downstream bandwidth metric in the coming years.

We are seeing Customer 3.0 at the moment spreading through Europe.  They’ve been through two cycles of broadband adoption.  The first being any service that was available, rarely exceeding 10Mbps.  The second, still an aspiration for many, was the first taste of superfast.  Now as we enter the third mass deployment phase consumers are starting to look to the services that are enabled and are less influenced by the promise of the fastest, shiniest most fibrey tariffs if they don’t offer a step change in experience.

We believe that 100Mbps and above will be the most common tier adopted in 2020, meeting the Digital Agenda aspiration.  Partly because consumers, particularly in multi-person households or SMEs, want it and partly because the ISPs are driving each other along the upgrade paths under the threat of being left idling alone in the slow lane.

Find out more

Point Topic publishes data on broadband at the square kilometre level across the EU28 and selected other markets.  For more details, please visit the Broadband Competition Map of Europe page or contact Tim Johnson on +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or at

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