Broadband footprints keep growing as Europe edges closer to superfast for all

Broadband Coverage Europe 2016 report

Latest research reports that as of 2016 broadband speeds of 30Mbps are available to about 75 per cent of EU citizens.

IHS Markit in partnership with Point Topic recently completed the “Broadband Coverage in Europe 2016” study for the European Commission. The study is produced for DG Connect, the department of the European Commission, to monitor progress towards the coverage objectives of the Digital Agenda.

The latest research reports that as of 2016 more than half can get at least 100Mbps and more than three quarters have at least 30Mbps available to them.

“This is a significant milestone for the European Union.  It is challenging to deploy infrastructure on such a scale,” says Oliver Johnson, Chief Exec at Point Topic.

“Capturing that scale and making it comparable across all the member states, and more, is one of our primary challenges in this project.”

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Broadband Coverage Map of Europe

Point Topic focused on providing geographical datasets with supporting tables that provide information on the main broadband technologies and their coverage across 31 European countries. In addition to this, the datasets are used to create higher-resolution image depicting broadband coverage and the intensity of competition country by country across Europe as a whole.

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NUTS3 and The European Kilometre Grid

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. However, 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.

“European Kilometre Grid” or EKG is based on the Corine Land Cover environmental database. 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.


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 European Kilometre Grid provides information that can be used to categorise each square in terms of its attractiveness for broadband investment. The EKG is able to identify areas which may be quite attractive for unsubsidised broadband rollout even within the most rural counties.

Read more about European mapping here.


Both IHS Markit as well as Point Topic have previously conducted the broadband coverage research. Point Topic was the incumbent provider introducing the original research methodology in the period 2010-2012. IHS Markit (in cooperation with VVA) delivered the study from 2013-2015 and adopted similar data collection and analysis methods to those implemented by Point Topic in order to ensure comparability of datasets for the purposes of time-series assessment.

  • Point Topic Ltd has gathered, analysed and published broadband information data sets since 1998, used across industry and beyond as the foundation for reporting, planning and strategy. It provides insight, context, sourcing and transparent reporting so customers can follow data inputs through to information outputs with confidence.
  • IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and expertise to forge solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions

Media Contacts

The key results are published online as part of the EU’s Digital Agenda Scoreboard.  For more information please phone 020 3301 3303 or email