February 27, 2012 | Tim Johnson
Point Topic, a global broadband analyst firm, is today launching the most detailed broadband coverage mapping survey ever made across Europe. The survey is commissioned by the European Commission (EU) to monitor progress towards its Digital Agenda targets. The project led by Point Topic, will focus on broadband coverage district by district across all 27 EU countries, and also Norway and Iceland.
The Digital Agenda for Europe is one of the flagship initiatives of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. With so many different technologies delivering broadband, knowing which area each technology covers and how many homes they pass is a real challenge, particularly as there is a significant geographical overlap. To get the complete picture the online survey is aimed at over 300 European broadband operators and their national regulators.
The new survey extends the EU’s ongoing efforts in three key areas. It will cover more broadband-delivering technologies than previous projects, it will focus particularly on superfast Next Generation Networks, delivering speeds of 30 megabits per second (Mbps) and more, and it will map broadband coverage at the local level to show better than ever before where the gaps and weaknesses are.
With this new survey, the EU will be able to monitor how far Europe has progressed towards its objective of superfast broadband for everyone, how far it still has to go and where action will be most needed to achieve the Digital Agenda targets.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, says: “Accurate data is critical for delivering policy and regulation that enables broadband internet for all Europeans. I invite telecomm providers throughout Europe to participate in this survey, so we have more accurate data to assist our joint efforts to offer broadband to citizens and businesses Europe-wide.”
The EU aims to raise broadband speeds to at least 30 megabits per second for all Europeans by 2020, with 50 per cent of European households subscribing to internet connections above 100 megabits per second. In order to achieve these objectives we must assess where we are now and how far we still have to go.
Telecomms operators – the communications providers which actually own the broadband infrastructure – are the organisations targeted for this survey. They have the vital information about where broadband is available today that can reveal where action will be most needed in future. For the first time this survey will be contacting operators responsible for all of the nine technologies expected to deliver the great majority of broadband services over the coming decade – DSL, VDSL and FTTP over fixed line networks, Standard and DOCSIS 3 services over the cable networks, WiMAX for fixed wireless service, HSPA and LTE for mobile broadband and Satellite broadband from space.[i]
“We’re very pleased and proud to have the opportunity to do such important and pioneering work,” says Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic. “We have been tracking the coverage and offerings of broadband operators around the world since 1998 and mapping UK broadband in detail since 2005. We are delighted to be able to use this experience to advance the cause of making broadband into a major utility, with reliable and high quality service available to everyone.”
The key results will be published online as part of the EU’s Digital Agenda Scoreboard (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/scoreboard/index_en.htm). Maps for each of the EU countries, plus Norway and Iceland, will show what broadband choices are available to homes and businesses. Thus all stakeholders, whether local governments, businesses, would-be network providers, or ordinary households, will be able to see where their area is positioned.
If you would like to find out more about the SMART 2011/0027 Broadband Coverage in Europe on 2011 project, please visit the project microsite. Alternatively, follow @PointTopic on Twitter to receive live updates and to find out more about the survey directly from Chief Analyst, Tim Johnson. You can also search the subject by using #broadbandcoverageeu.
About Point Topic
Point Topic is the primary websource for DSL, FTTx, cable and other broadband supplier and user statistics, databases, information and reports. Its data is in use worldwide amongst governments, commercial organisations and as general reference. A range of online services provides the most up-to-date, accurate and cost effective worldwide and UK specific broadband data sets available.
For media information please contact Dana Corson at [email protected] or on +44 1636 812152.
[i] DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is the technology which delivers broadband over telephone lines and is the backbone of fixed broadband services today. VDSL – Very-high-speed DSL extends the capability of DSL to superfast “Next Generation Access” (NGA) speeds. FTTP takes speed and other capabilities a step further by providing optical “fibre to the premises”, whether these are homes or businesses. The Standard cable-modems which have provided broadband on the cable TV networks up to now are now being rapidly replaced by equipment using the new DOCSIS 3 standard which can deliver 100Mbps and more. Similarly WiMAX is the new set of wireless broadband standards which can deliver upwards of 25Mbps. HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is the technology used to provide internet access for millions of smartphones and other mobiles across Europe today while LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is just beginning to roll out in many countries and will raise the downstream speeds available over mobile networks to as much as 100Mbps. Finally, the new KA-Sat generation of satellites, can provide superfast broadband connections almost everywhere in Europe although their capacity is limited to a relatively small number of users.