The Broadband Competition Map of Europe

A comprehensive dataset of the coverage of broadband services in Europe

Point Topic's Broadband Coverage Map reveals a unique view of the European broadband market which has never been available before. In this new report we describe how the map is made, how the data can be used and a technical description of the data that subscribers can access.

Point Topic’s newest maps of broadband in Europe were produced to track progress towards the objectives of the EC’s Digital Agenda. They showed that as of end-2012 the EU was 54% of the way towards the objective of superfast broadband being available to all by 2020.

Point Topic is very pleased to introduce our new dataset of broadband coverage in Europe. It gives policy makers, vendors and telcos the data they need to take practical decisions.

The Map provides data on the main broadband technologies (DSL, VDSL, FTTP, Cable, LTE) and their coverage for over 3,000 urban, semi-rural and rural areas across 31 European countries.  Using it can help broadband market players to make the best-informed decisions more quickly and with more confidence.

Our new report covers:

Download the pdf version of this report

 

The superfast revolution

Another peaceful revolution is sweeping across Europe.  For the third time in 20 years, homes and businesses are changing the way they connect with the world.  In the 1990s they first started using the internet over slow, dial-up connections.  In the 2000s the first generation of broadband appeared and drove a great leap forward in internet usability and applications. Now, in the 2010s, Europe is switching on to the superfast internet, with access at 30 megabits per second and more.

The implications are huge for every part of European society.  One objective is to ensure that everyone in Europe has access to superfast broadband (also known as NGA, for Next Generation Access). Point Topic estimates that this will require some €80 billion in further investment between 2013 and 2020. Where is the investment needed?  How will it be provided?  What hardware and software will the new networks need?  How and when will the user experience change in different places?  How can service providers adapt to meet changing competition?

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What the Map provides

Figure 1 NGA Coverage by province, end 2012

The Broadband Competition Map is essentially a geographical dataset with supporting tables.  The dataset can be used to create vivid maps showing broadband coverage and the intensity of competition country by country or across Europe as a whole.  For actual decision-making, the dataset can identify the most attractive areas for investment or the ones in most need of public support.  It can show where competition is most or least intense, what communications equipment is likely to be required or where end-users will enjoy the best or worst broadband experiences.

To do this the dataset brings together the statistics for many different variables.  In terms of broadband services it covers the three main superfast technologies – Docsis 3 over the cable TV networks, VDSL using the telephone system and FTTP with fibre running all the way to multi-occupation buildings or individual homes. [1] It also maps the full DSL footprint and the spread of the fourth-generation mobile standard LTE.

For each of these technologies the Map shows which operators own the infrastructure at the local level, and how the superfast technologies overlap – leaving more than 40% of Europe without superfast services while many homes and businesses enjoy the choice of two or three different ones.

Geographically, the Broadband Competition Map provides a much higher-resolution picture than has ever been available before for the whole of Europe.  It covers 31 countries, including every member of the European Union, and a total of 1,362 provinces within those countries.  It separates each province into clearly defined urban, semi-rural and rural segments. Technology coverage and overlap figures will be provided for every one of these approximately 3,000 segments.

Point Topic’s newest maps of broadband in Europe were produced to track progress towards the objectives of the EC’s Digital Agenda (Figure 1). They showed that as of end-2012 the EU was 54% of the way towards the objective of superfast broadband being available to all by 2020.

Point Topic also works closely with clients to mine this mass of data for the results they need. We identify specific applications with you, such as prioritising investments or sizing product demand, and devise valid methodologies for delivering them. We continue to provide user support and analyst access, by phone or email, for the duration of your subscription. The aim is to achieve the improved performance which comes from making the best use of available information. In this way, investment in the Broadband Competition Map can multiply its value many times over.

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Why the Map is exceptional

Companies or government bodies can gain significant business advantage by drawing on the Broadband Competition  Map in their decision making.

  • The Map is new. Such a view of Europe has never been available before.  Early users can find new opportunities, or address known ones more efficiently.
  • By applying new techniques, such as the kilometre grid, the map achieves high geographical granularity.  This reflects the economic needs of broadband much more closely than traditional administrative divisions.  User decision-making can be more accurate and more profitable.
  • Point Topic has been working in international broadband since 1999.  Our clients and business partners have come to value our transparency, our dedication to research and our close support.  Users can rely on our commitment to ensure that our products earn a good return for them.

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Why you need the Map

The Broadband Competition Map is most valuable for organisations which need to take an international look at Europe. For example, you may want to identify the most important areas for state intervention or the most profitable options for investment across the whole EU.  You may want to compare the performance and competitive challenges facing similar companies in different countries on an equal basis.  Or to estimate the total market for your products, and the profile of demand, in each country in a way which is both cost-effective and well-informed.

Any organisation faced with such questions as these needs to make use of the Broadband Competition Map.  Using the Map provides access to the newest research, the newest techniques and the most complete view of broadband in Europe.  Making decisions about broadband without checking out the Map’s research, and using it to the full, means accepting less-informed decision making and poorer use of resources.

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Further developments

This document is concerned mainly with the content and applications of the Broadband Competition Map.  But the Map is designed as the foundation of a whole range of geographical datasets which will provide the market intelligence that organisations will need to take full advantage of superfast developments in the next few years.

Topics for planned extensions to the Competition Map, each providing data for about 3,000 distinct urban and rural areas within provinces, include:

  1. Investment requirements; the funding which will be needed in each area to roll out superfast broadband to the whole of Europe
  2. Speed coverage; the actual download speed choices end-users have in each area and what that implies for the end-user experience and applications
  3. Coverage forecasts; when it is likely that each area will achieve superfast coverage milestones
  4. Take-up; how many homes have broadband today by the main technology and speed categories
  5. Take-up forecasts; how many homes will have broadband by category in each future year.

We will be very interested to hear of other decision-making data requirements which public bodies and businesses have and to add them to the research programme where appropriate.

Point Topic’s research and methodology is also used to provide much more detailed pictures of the broadband situation in individual countries.  For example, we can combine our kilometre grid with the marketing geography used by particular clients – such as post sectors – to provide datasets for targeted marketing.  This application can increase revenues and margins by tailoring sales messages to the actual competitive and user experience situation in each area.  If you have a need for more detailed geographies than the Broadband Competition Map can provide, please ask Point Topic for more information.

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Making the Business Case

“Nice to have” is not good enough when evaluating market data. Every acquisition has to return its cost many times over to justify its budget. Point Topic aims to ensure that the Broadband Competition Map can do just that. The Map is designed to enable major players in European broadband to get a better return from their market investments.

This chapter sets out the business case for subscribing to and using Point Topic’s Broadband Competition Map. The Broadband Competition Map is one module in Point Topic’s “Mapping Broadband Europe” services, and many of the points made here apply to those services as a whole.

Key questions buyers need to ask when they assess the business case for using the Broadband Competition Map are:

  • What are the applications for us?
  • Is this the best data source available?
  • Is Point Topic the right supplier to rely on?
  • How can we make sure the applications work for us in practice?
  • What scale of benefit can we expect to set against the cost?

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How you can use it

  • Policy makers – identify the priorities for intervention. Which areas need it most? How big are they? What are their likely funding needs? What are the technology options?
  • Investors – find the best opportunities. Where is investment needed? How is it likely to be financed? Which choices will give the best return taking scale, competition and local factors into account?
  • Broadband service providers – develop your superfast broadband strategy. Where can we best grow our superfast customer base? What competition will we face today and in future? How can we maximise our market share?
  • Marketers of internet services – discover where to target for best effect. Where can we promise users a good experience? Where do we need to promote the width of our offer? Where do we have a clear advantage? How can we benchmark our efforts to discover where we are doing well or badly?
  • Broadband vendors – profile and scale your markets. Where is the potential demand for our products? What volumes are likely (ports, users, licences etc.)? How will user needs vary between markets (form factors, functionality etc.)?

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Why it’s the best data

A combination of features makes Point Topic the best source for broadband mapping data in Europe.

  • Uniqueness.  Point Topic is the only source for the mapping of broadband availability and take-up for the whole EU.
  • High resolution.  Point Topic pioneered the international mapping of broadband at provincial level and now offers datasets which can be orders of magnitude more granular.  These are based on Point Topic’s European Kilometre Grid which divides Europe into over 4 million kilometre squares.
  • Based on long-term and in-depth research.  Point Topic has been gathering data on broadband coverage and customers since 1999.  Coverage and take-up figures are based on detailed knowledge of the broadband statistics, market and regulatory situation in each country.
  • Independent and not limited by commercial confidence.  Point Topic’s research is not produced to support any particular view of the market and it uses non-confidential sources so use of the results is not limited by NDAs or other restrictions.
  • Supported by free access to expert analysts and project resources.  Point Topic’s experts are available to discuss results and their implications with subscribers as needed.  The team can carry out more extensive projects if required.

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Why Point Topic is the right supplier

Point Topic combines commitment to the broadband market with 15 years of experience and an innovative approach.

Point Topic has been researching broadband services worldwide since 1998. In 2006 it produced the first commercial mapping of broadband take-up and coverage with its UK Broadband Layer. This provides a broadband database for 1.7m geolocations for the UK and has been updated every year since it started.

Starting in 2010, the company developed the capability to map broadband at the provincial level across the whole of Europe, first of all for the European Space Agency then for the European Commission. Neelie Kroes, Vice-president for the Digital Agenda, described Point Topic’s first EC project as “the best view so far of where action is needed on broadband coverage.”

Throughout its history Point Topic has built long-term relationships of trust with its clients and business partners. Since 2002 the company’s partnership with Broadband Forum has promoted the growth of broadband worldwide. Meanwhile major broadband players now have Point Topic data embedded deeply within their systems.

Customers praise Point Topic’s commitment and transparency. “The specialisation in broadband at Point Topic is outstanding,” says one Telefonica executive. “They back this up with good customer support and excellent value for money.”

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How we help you to make it work

Point Topic is well aware that a raw dataset is daunting for anybody who is unfamiliar with it. This is why we aim to work with you to ensure the data works for your organisation, even from before you have committed to the product.

An example of the tasks Point Topic would undertake in consultation with you is as follows:

  1. Identify one or more specific applications of value to your organisation
  2. Develop methodology and analysis to fulfil these applications
  3. Demo sample instances of the applications and so develop an agreed approach
  4. Provide you with a tailored dataset and models to meet your application needs

These tasks can be carried out before you have ordered the product or included at no extra cost. Access to our analysts continues to be free of charge in the longer term. More extensive work to develop new results or applications may be charged for at the reduced hourly rate for subscribers.

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What scale of benefit you can aim for

Every organisation is different, and measures benefits on different scales. Here are some examples of the ways in which different kinds of organisation can generate benefits worth many times the cost of subscribing to the Broadband Competition Map.

  • A major cable network has almost complete overlap with the incumbent telco.  But with Docsis 3 technology the cable network clearly beats the incumbent’s VDSL offering on speed throughout its whole area.  Using the Broadband Competition Map plus EKG detail it can use targeting and benchmarking to leverage its advantage even more effectively.  In this way the cable operator can raise market share by at least 1% while holding sales expenditure level.  For at least one operator this would be worth over €30m in added revenue per year.
  • An investment fund faces a wide choice of potential superfast projects across Europe.  Using the Broadband Competition Map it can quickly filter the choices to identify the most attractive ones in terms of scale, competition, likely tariff levels and take-up.  Going into further detail with EKG-based analysis the fund can select specific investments which optimise for maximum return per euro.  This approach can improve returns on projects typically costing at least €10m by 10% in many cases, while reducing time to market.
  • An international broadband vendor needs to know how demand for its product family is likely to develop in Europe over the next few years.  The Broadband Competition Map shows the likely scale of demand province by province.  The fine detail means that country level estimates are more reliable and better understood.  It also makes it possible to estimate relative demand for different form factors – number of ports per linecard for example.  With more informed sales efforts, reduced production costs and better focus on customer needs the company can gain an extra 10% margin on €20m annual sales.

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Technical description

Table 1 Classifications used for the Broadband Competition Map

Classification Description Quantity
Countries The 28 countries of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland 31
Technologies The main fixed broadband superfast technologies – VDSL, FTTP and Cable – plus DSL and LTE (see Table 2) 5
Operators The main network operators for each technology in each country (see template in Table 6) Over 200
Provinces Countries are divided into provinces as defined by the NUTS 3 classification used by the European Commission 1,362
Kilometre squares Point Topic’s European Kilometre Grid segments the 31 countries into squares characterised by their population density and land use 4,000,000
Urban and rural areas Kilometre squares are classified as Urban, Semi-rural and Rural on the basis of population density and land use.  Non-inhabited squares are also identified (see Table 4) 4
Technology overlaps Estimates are provided of the overlaps between each of the fixed superfast technologies and between fixed broadband technologies as a whole and LTE 12

Countries

Point Topic’s Broadband Geography Map covers 31 European countries.  The 31 comprise all the 28 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Technologies

The Broadband Coverage Map and Point Topic’s related products cover five standard and superfast broadband technologies; DSL, VDSL, Cable, FTTP and LTE.  These technologies and their coverage areas are defined as set out in the tables below.

Note that the definitions here may differ slightly from those used by Point Topic for other projects, such as the “Broadband Coverage in Europe” studies for the European Commission.  The definitions have been made more specific than previous versions and are designed to reflect commercial needs as closely as possible.  The practical differences from other definitions are usually small.

Table 2 Broadband technology definitions

Technology Definition
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Broadband provided over a conventional telephone line with a maximum download speed up to 24Mbps.  Current implementations usually use the ADSL2 or ADSL2+ standards.
VDSL (Very-high-speed DSL) VDSL versions of DSL are capable of delivering a downstream speed of up to 40Mbps or above over conventional telephone lines; also called FTTC+VDSL for example.  Current implementations usually use the VDSL2 standard.
FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) Broadband provided over fibre optic cables going all the way to apartment blocks or “multiple dwelling units” (MDUs), business premises or individual homes.  This definition includes both fibre-to-the-building (FTTB), where the fibre terminates at an MDU or office block, with broadband distribution by other technologies within the building, or fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) where the fibre runs all the way to individual premises.
Cable Broadband provided over a fixed cable TV network using coaxial cable to the end-user premises according to different standards.  Most cable networks today have been upgraded to provide Docsis 3 broadband which can deliver at least 30Mbps downstream and potentially 100Mbps or more.  Some networks or parts of networks still use earlier standards, such as DOCSIS 1, usually limited to speeds of not more than 20Mbps.  Docsis 3 and other standards are not differentiated in this definition although information is provided on the proportion of the cable network which has been upgraded to Docsis 3 in each country.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) The next-generation mobile service which requires separate spectrum from 3G mobile and which supports maximum downstream speeds up to at least 100Mbps.
 

Table 3 Broadband coverage definitions

Technology Where a premises has coverage
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) In an area covered by a telephone exchange enabled for DSL and within a radius of 4,000 metres from the exchange.  This implies the end-user should be able to receive a downstream signal of at least 144Kbps
VDSL (Very-high-speed DSL) In an area covered by a street cabinet or equivalent which is enabled for VDSL and within a radius of 500 metres from the cabinet.  This implies the end-user should be able to receive at least 25Mbps downstream from a non-vectored VDSL service.
FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) In an area where the premises can be connected to the FTTP service without requiring any additional investment by the operator which would require an increase to the normal connection charge.  The assumption as of 2013 is that FTTP networks can provide end-users with download speeds of at least 100Mbps.
Cable In an area where the premises can be connected to the cable service without requiring any additional investment by the operator which would require an increase to the normal connection charge.   The assumption as of 2013 is that Docsis 3 cable networks can provide end-users with download speeds of at least 30Mbps.
LTE (Long Term Evolution) In an area where a user with an LTE mobile handset can receive a downstream signal of at least 8Mbps.

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Operators

Operators are defined, in this context, as the communications providers which actually operate the networks which provide broadband access to end-users. So Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, BT and Telecom Italia are major DSL and VDSL operators.  Liberty Global (11 countries), RCS&RDS (Romania) and Numericable (France) are major operators in standard and Docsis 3 cable broadband.  Reggefiber (Netherlands), Fastweb (Italy) and CGates (Lithuania) are some of the biggest operators in FTTP, and Vodafone, 3 and Telia, each serving multiple countries, in LTE.

Note that the focus here is on the companies which run and usually own the telecoms infrastructure, not on those which rent access over that infrastructure to deliver services to their own end-user customers.  It is important to recognise that with DSL, for example, there is only one infrastructure network in each area although many resellers of services across that network will claim coverage in that area.

On this basis, operator presence is the key metric for discovering broadband coverage and competition in an area.  If we know which operators offer service using which technologies we have a basic picture of the competitive situation.  If we have data on areas as small as a single building we have a complete picture of coverage as well.  If the data is only at country level, then estimates of both total net coverage and competitive challenges will be only approximate.  Point Topic’s aim is to work between these extremes and get the most granular data which is appropriate given user needs and budgets.

In the case of the Broadband Competition Map this means going to the provincial level in each country and then dividing the provinces into urban, semi-rural and rural segments.  Thus we need to identify operator presence in these segments.

Point Topic has been collecting data on broadband network operators and their coverage since 1998.  It profiles operators and summarises their coverage in its worldwide Broadband Operators and Tariffs service. Since 2006 it has built up a very detailed picture of operator coverage in the UK.  From 2010 it has been gathering an increasingly detailed picture of coverage across Europe with projects from the European Space Agency and the European Commission.

This provides an excellent starting point for plotting operator presence across Europe.  But one limitation is that the presence data provided in these projects, particularly those for the EC, is often confidential and not available for publication.  To make products like the Broadband Competition Map possible we need to build presence lists from non-confidential data.  This means going to various sources:

  • Public data from operators; lists of towns where cable is available, telephone exchanges enabled for VDSL, FTTP project areas, actual maps in many cases
  • Public data from regulators and from the European Commission; these usually show where different technologies are available without identifying the operators, but provide a good starting point
  • Speed data from organisations such as Ookla (speedtest.net) and Samknows; again these may not identify operators but provide a starting point
  • Crowdsourcing, where large numbers of users access particular services, such as speed tests, and hence contribute basic data on their location and service provider.

Combining all these sources enables us to produce a sufficiently accurate picture of operator presence and in many cases operator coverage. Even if coverage is only quoted at a national level this data can be combined with presence information and the coverage of operators providing the same technology to produce good estimates at the provincial level.

The results are provided as a dataset of operator presence by province. There is a separate table for each country to reflect the different set of operators in each country. The provisional template for a country is shown in Table 6.

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NUTS 3 areas

Point Topic’s European mapping uses the NUTS classification to divide up all the member states of the EU and the other countries included in a consistent and comparable manner. NUTS stands for the French initials for Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. The classification was developed to provide a consistent framework for collecting statistics, carrying out socio-economic analyses and developing regional policies across the EU. The scheme is also extended to cover EU candidate countries and the members of EFTA.

The Broadband Competition Map and other Europe-wide products from Point Topic use the NUTS 3 level of classification. These are the smallest areas covered by the scheme, intended in principle to have populations of between 150,000 and 800,000, but some thinly populated rural NUTS 3 areas are below this band and some large cities are above it.

NUTS areas are intended to reflect the normal administrative divisions in each country, and in most cases they do. For example, NUTS 3 areas in France are departements, in Italy provincia and in Germany Stadtkreise and Landkreise. Some countries have created special groupings of administrative units to meet the NUTS criteria. The most striking example is the UK which has NUTS 3 areas which do not correspond to any other established regional hierarchy.

The NUTS 3 classification is updated every few years, for example to take account of changes in administrative geography. The current version, used for the Broadband Competition Map, is valid from 1 January 2012 until 31 December 2014.

Using this classification, Point Topic divides the EU 28 countries, plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland into 1,362 NUTS 3 areas.

There are considerable advantages in aligning Point Topic’s broadband mapping with the NUTS 3 classification even where it cuts across standard administrative areas. The scheme means that a good set of comparable socio-economic statistics is available across all the areas and is maintained for the current validity period of the NUTS classification. It also provides geographic shape files for mapping free of charge for all users. More detail about NUTS [3] is available on the Eurostat website.

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The European Kilometre Grid

The second significant innovation supporting Point Topic’s analysis of the European broadband market is its use of a kilometre grid.  This provides a further level of geographical granularity within NUTS 3 areas.

Point Topic’s “European Kilometre Grid” or EKG is based on the Corine Land Cover environmental database.[4]  Corine divides the countries it covers into squares one kilometre across and provides population density and basic land-use data for each square.  Point Topic has adapted and simplified the database so that it can be used as a framework for broadband geography for the whole EU and other European countries.

The results for one small part of Europe are shown in the map below covering the Bay of Naples.  The city of Naples and its suburbs show up as yellow squares of “Urban continuous” land-use. More thinly built-up areas are light blue, industry is dark blue and squares dominated by agriculture are coloured red.  Even in this densely populated part of Italy there is some forest land, showing in green, most notably the roughly circular area in the middle right of the map which plots the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.  Two purple squares in the middle of this circle identify the truly uninhabited crater of the volcano.

Figure 2 Point Topic EKG – Italy

The map also shows why the EKG approach is so important to making a soundly-based assessment of Europe’s broadband needs.  The Italian province of Napoli, roughly corresponding to the area on the map, has to be counted as a densely populated urban area when seen as a whole.  But a close look shows that it offsets one of the most densely populated cities in Europe with quite extensive agricultural areas and even some wilderness.  The different areas will require very different broadband solutions.

The adjustment to expectation is reversed when looking at provinces which are normally classified as highly rural.  On close examination much of the population is often seen to be concentrated in urban or semi-urban areas.  From a broadband investment point of view these areas can be quite easy and cheap to reach.  Large parts of a province, particularly in mountainous or arctic areas, may be virtually uninhabited so even the problem of reaching the rest of the population is not quite so challenging as first appears.

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Urban and rural areas

The European Kilometre Grid provides the population and land-use type for each kilometre square in Europe. This information can be used to categorise each square in terms of its attractiveness for broadband investment.

The categories can be defined as appropriate for the application. In the case of the Broadband Competition Map the categories used are as follows:

Table 4 Urban and rural definitions

Category Definition
Urban Areas with a population of 600 or more persons per square kilometre
Semi-rural Areas with a population of 100 or more persons per sq km but less than 600
Rural Areas with a population of less than 100 persons per sq km
Non-inhabited Kilometre squares with zero population
This set of categories is referred to as “USRN bands” for convenience. The definitions have been chosen to reflect the economics of rolling out superfast broadband services.
  • Urban areas with more than 600 persons per sq km can generally support superfast rollout without special subsidy,
  • Semi-rural areas with between 100 and 600 persons per sq km generally do require subsidy but this is typically at a reasonable level per household,
  • Rural areas with under 100 persons per sq km would require uneconomic levels of subsidy for complete coverage and need to be tackled almost on a house-by-house basis,
  • Non-inhabited areas do not need fixed-line coverage and are assumed not to have any.  Taking them into account shows that Rural population densities are often higher than first assumed and the rural coverage issue is not so challenging as first appears.

The upper boundary for the Rural band is deliberately set at the same population density as is often used to define rural areas by national or regional governments (and the European Commission) that is at 100 people per square kilometre. But it is important to realise that the definition of “rural” based on the kilometre grid is fundamentally different from the administrative definitions normally used by governments.

The government definitions are usually based on administrative areas of different sizes, usually going down to the smallest areas with some separate administrative identity, such as communes for example. These areas reflect actual communities and typically they will include a town or village and its surrounding countryside. The EKG looks at these areas in a different way and will pick out the village separately from its surroundings. Thus it is able to identify areas which may be quite attractive for unsubsidised broadband rollout even within the most rural counties. The two types of definition are both valid but for different purposes.

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Technology overlaps

A major reason for producing the Broadband Competition Map is to identify as closely as possible where different broadband technologies overlap. The only way to do this is to segment the area under study into the smallest possible units and to identify the presence or otherwise of each competing technology or operator in each such unit. For example, the ideal approach, if the budget is big enough, is to find out what services are available to each individual household.

Failing such an ideal, the cheaper alternative is to look at larger areas and identify which services are available at that level. This is what Point Topic’s research does. In the case of the Broadband Competition Map, the chosen units are the USR sectors within each NUTS 3 area. (The N (“non-inhabited”) sector is excluded because it is assumed to have no fixed-line coverage.) This means that the EU as a whole is segmented into about 3,000 separate areas with individual coverage and overlap estimates for each one.

The means used to estimate technology coverage within each of these areas relies on making maximum usage of available data and extending this with modelling where necessary to produce a complete dataset. The approach is described in more detail in the Methodology paper.

Information on the overlap between these technologies is not usually available in any detail[5].  It is sometimes possible to say that two technologies do not overlap in a particular area, because they have deliberately been rolled out to provide complementary coverage. More generally, competing operators rolling out NGA technologies will be driven by two opposite forces. On the one hand they will all want to be present in the most attractive areas (generally those with high population density and/or high disposable income), on the other it may be more profitable to be the only player in less attractive areas. Models based on conditional probabilities can reflect these situations.

The Broadband Competition Map focuses particularly on the overlaps between the three NGA technologies – Cable, VDSL and FTTP. The overlaps between three choices can produce a total of eight segments (three with only one choice present, three with two choices, one with all three choices – and one with no choice). The Map provides an estimate of the coverage of each of these segments, depending on how many technologies are present.

Some observers have objected that this approach will not produce useful figures because it depends on modelling. But in fact, Point Topic believes, it does produce results which are robust and fit for purpose for decision-making, for several reasons.

  • The areas used are small.  By focusing, for example, on just the urban areas in a particular province the methodology reduces the scope for error from the beginning.
  • The problem is highly constrained.  In many areas there is no NGA technology or only one in any case.  Identifying these areas sets a limit on the potential extent of overlapping from the start.  In turn, where two or more technologies are present, the range of possibilities for overlapping or otherwise within a small area is limited.
  • Better alternatives are not generally available.  As discussed above, only a building-by-building survey of availability would produce a perfect solution to the coverage overlap question.  By using smaller areas we get closer to that ideal at a small fraction of the cost.

Besides estimating the overlaps between the three fixed line NGA technologies the Map provides an estimate of the coverage of LTE technology, and the overlap between LTE and fixed-line NGA as a whole.

The Map also provides an estimate of the total coverage of standard or better fixed-line broadband. This is the sum of the areas and overlaps of DSL, FTTP and Cable. (VDSL coverage is defined as a subset of DSL coverage, and Cable includes both Docsis 3 and remaining coverage by earlier standards.)

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Geography and Demographics

The standard dataset for the Broadband Competition Map includes 6 geographic and 4 demographic fields.

Each record in the dataset is for a separate Urban, Semi-rural or Rural segment within a province or NUTS 3 area.  The geographic fields identify the country and province where the segment is located, whether it is a U, S or R type, and its area in square kilometres.  Areas derived from the EKG are scaled in proportion so that the USR total matches the total NUTS 3 area provided by Eurostat.

The demographic fields show the population, average household size and number of households in the segment.  They also include an economic indicator, the gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant, in purchasing power standard (PPS)[six], quoted in euros per year.  This indicator, selected for its wide application in policy, investment and marketing analyses, is provided by Eurostat at the NUTS 3 level.

Eurostat produces a wide variety of other indicators at the NUTS 3 level, and more for NUTS 2.  These are organised according to 11 topics (economy, population, health, education, the labour market, structural business statistics, tourism, the information society, agriculture, transport, and science, technology and innovation).  Thus users of the Broadband Competition Map can readily analyse the features of different areas by drawing on the Eurostat database.

The Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2012 [7] provides a comprehensive introduction to the data available at NUTS 3 and NUTS 2 levels.

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Main and supporting datasets

Technology coverage and overlap

Several dataset tables will be provided as part of the Broadband Competition Map product. They will include an operator presence table and provincial and country level summary tables.

However, the main dataset is about technology coverage and overlap. This will include about 3,000 records covering the 1,362 provinces, with up to three records for each province depending on which of the urban or rural segments are represented in the province.

Each record will comprise at least 30 fields which are listed out in Table 5 below. The fields identify the geography of each record and provide basic demographics, then provide estimates of the coverage of each technology and of each technology overlap.

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Operator presence

The operator presence dataset shows the main operators which own network infrastructure and supply services for each of the five technologies covered in each province in each country. Thus there will be 31 tables, one for each country, with a total of 1,362 records, one for each province.

Each record will include 9 fields for geographic identification and metadata (the number of operators present in the province for each technology), plus upwards of 5 fields showing the percentage coverage of the operators which are present. The provisional template for a country is shown in Table 6.

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Higher-level datasets

The main Broadband Competition Map dataset is supplemented by higher-level datasets which mostly summarise the data provided at the province USR level by the main datasets.

A provincial dataset summarises the USR data provided for each NUTS 3 area, including both demographic and coverage data, to show totals for each province as a whole.

This dataset also includes the land area of “non-inhabited” areas in each province. No other data is provided for non-inhabited areas which have no population, by definition, and are assumed to have no fixed broadband coverage.

A country dataset summarises the totals for each country as a whole. For example, it will show the overall competitive situation in urban areas in the country. It also shows the total number of operators offering services using each technology in the country.

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Commercial terms

Licensing

Point Topic offers the Broadband Competition Map on a subscription basis. Licenses normally run for one year from the date of the initiation of the subscription. They allow all employees of the licensing organisation to access and use the datasets and maps.

The license terms are designed to ensure that the product meets user needs. For example, the terms recognise that many users of the Broadband Competition Map will need to share results with government organisations or business partners. Some users may want to make results available to the general public.

To meet these needs the license for the Broadband Competition Map includes rights for both full internal use and for publication.

Besides the right to use the data as required within the user organisation, Full Internal Use includes the right to share results with the organisation’s business partners and clients, and to retain such results (but not the full datasets) after the end of the licence period. It also allows the licensing organisation to provide access to the datasets to consultants for the purposes of a project for the organisation.

In addition to the above, Publication Rights allow the licensing organisation to use results and analysis generated using the Map in its reports and other public documents.

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Other facilities

Several other valuable facilities can be included with the subscription to the Broadband Competition Map.

  1. Initial development; Point Topic frequently develops specific applications of its mapping data for clients. This may be done free of charge before an order is confirmed or it may be included in the agreed price of an order.
  2. Analyst support; advice and problem-solving assistance to make the best use of Point Topic’s datasets is available free of charge throughout the duration of the licence.
  3. Expert briefing; a session to brief key staff at your premises or online can be included in the initial order cost or added as required.
  4. Project work; analysis or consultancy beyond routine analyst support can be carried out at a reduced hourly rate as required by the client.

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Pricing and payment

Point Topic’s fee for a 12-month licence for the “Broadband Competition Map” as defined in this document will be €9,500 (nine thousand five hundred euros) or the equivalent in USD or GBP.

The fee will be invoiced in full on delivery of the Map for payment within 30 days.

Value added tax, if applicable, and any other legally applicable taxes will be additional to all prices quoted.

The offer set out in this document remains valid until 31 December 2013.

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Appendix Detailed tables

Table 5 Field list for the Broadband Competition Map

Col. Field Type Field name

Description

A Geographic Country name Short-form name of the European country where the area is located
B Geographic Country code Standard two-letter code for the European country where the area is located
C Geographic Province name Standard Latin-version name of the NUTS 3 province where the area is located
D Geographic Province code Standard NUTS 3 code for the province
E Geographic Area USR type Whether the area is Urban, Semi-rural or Rural (“Not inhabited” areas are not included in this table)
F Geographic Land area In square kilometres
G Demographic Population Population of the area, from Eurostat
H Demographic Households Estimated number of households in the area
I Demographic Household size Number of persons per household, at country or NUTS 3 level according to availability
J Demographic GDP per head Eurostat figure for gross domestic product per head at the NUTS 3 level, in Euros using the Purchasing Power Standard (PPS) for comparability
K Technology coverage DSL coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access DSL services if desired
L Technology coverage VDSL coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access VDSL services if desired
M Technology coverage FTTP coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access FTTP services if desired
N Technology coverage Cable broadband coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access Cable broadband services if desired.  This includes both Standard and Docsis 3 coverage.  (Country level data is provided on the % of cable coverage which is Docsis 3.)
O Technology coverage LTE coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access LTE services if desired
P Technology coverage Standard broadband coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access at least one fixed-line service of standard or superfast broadband
Q Fixed-line superfast overlaps VDSL only Percentage of households in the area which can access only VDSL fixed-line superfast services
R Fixed-line superfast overlaps FTTP only Percentage of households in the area which can access only FTTP fixed-line superfast services
S Fixed-line superfast overlaps Cable broadband only Percentage of households in the area which can access only Cable broadband fixed-line superfast services
T Fixed-line superfast overlaps VDSL and FTTP Percentage of households in the area which can access both VDSL and FTTP  fixed-line superfast services
U Fixed-line superfast overlaps VDSL and Cable Percentage of households in the area which can access both VDSL and Cable broadband fixed-line superfast services
V Fixed-line superfast overlaps FTTP and Cable Percentage of households in the area which can access both FTTP and Cable broadband fixed-line superfast services
W Fixed-line superfast overlaps VDSL, FTTP and Cable Percentage of households in the area which can access VDSL, FTTP and Cable broadband fixed-line superfast services
X Fixed-line superfast overlaps Total fixed-line superfast coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access at least one fixed-line superfast service
Y Fixed-line superfast overlaps No fixed-line superfast coverage Percentage of households in the area which cannot access any fixed-line superfast service
Z Fixed-line superfast and LTE overlaps LTE only Percentage of households in the area which can access only LTE services
AA Fixed-line superfast and LTE overlaps Fixed-line superfast only Percentage of households in the area which can access only fixed-line superfast services
AB Fixed-line superfast and LTE overlaps LTE and fixed-line superfast Percentage of households in the area which can access both LTE and any fixed-line superfast services
AC Fixed-line superfast and LTE overlaps Total fixed-line superfast and LTE coverage Percentage of households in the area which can access either LTE or any fixed-line superfast services or both
AD Fixed-line superfast and LTE overlaps No fixed-line superfast or LTE coverage Percentage of households in the area which cannot access either LTE or any fixed-line superfast services
 

Table 6 Template for operator presence data in each province

Col. Field Type Field name

Content

A Geographic Country name Short-form name of the European country where the province is located
B Geographic Country code Standard two-letter code for the European country where the province is located
C Geographic Province name Standard Latin-version name of the NUTS 3 province
D Geographic Province code Standard NUTS 3 code for the province
E Metadata DSL operators Number of operators with DSL access infrastructure in the province
F Metadata VDSL operators Number of operators with VDSL access infrastructure in the province
G Metadata FTTP operators Number of operators with FTTP access infrastructure in the province
H Metadata Cable operators Number of operators with Cable access infrastructure in the province
I Metadata LTE operators Number of operators with LTE access infrastructure in the province
J Operator coverage [Name of DSL 1 operator] % coverage by DSL 1 operator in the province
K Operator coverage [Name of DSL N operator] % coverage by DSL N operator in the province
L Operator coverage [Name of VDSL 1 operator] % coverage by VDSL 1 operator in the province
M Operator coverage [Name of VDSL N operator] % coverage by VDSL N operator in the province
N Operator coverage [Name of FTTP 1 operator] % coverage by FTTP 1 operator in the province
O Operator coverage [Name of FTTP N operator] % coverage by FTTP N operator in the province
P Operator coverage [Name of Cable 1 operator] % coverage by Cable 1 operator in the province
Q Operator coverage [Name of Cable N operator] % coverage by Cable N operator in the province
R Operator coverage [Name of LTE 1 operator] % coverage by LTE 1 operator in the province
S Operator coverage [Name of LTE N operator] % coverage by LTE N operator in the province

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Find out more

The service provides in-depth broadband market information at a high geographical resolution. It enables the fact-based preparation of everything from policy decisions and business cases to network plans and marketing campaigns.The service covers all countries in the European Union and others on request.

Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail oliver.johnson@point-topic.com for more details.


[1] For definitions of the broadband technologies and their coverage areas see Tables 2 and 3.

[2] This total includes 15 areas which are overseas territories (4 for France, 2 for Portugal and 9 for Spain).  The overseas territories are included in the Map dataset but with limited detail.

[3 ] http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/nuts_nomenclature/introduction

[4] The Corine Land Cover database now covers 38 European countries and is published and copyright by the European Environment Agency.  It is used for the European Kilometre Grid according to the EEA’s standard re-use policy.

[5] One exception is in the UK where Point Topic’s research goes down to unit postcodes, with an average of 15 households each, and so we can produce detailed views of overlap.

[6] GDP and household incomes are initially calculated in national currencies and then converted using purchasing power parities (PPPs) into an artificial common currency called a purchasing power standard (PPS)

[7] http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/product_details/publication?p_product_code=KS-HA-12-001

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