Broadband internet continues to grow in the EU

With more than 11 million new fixed lines laid in a year, the take up of broadband internet continues to grow in Europe. According to a report published today by the European Commission, 24% of the EU population had a broadband access line subscription in July 2009, up from 21.6% in July 2008, and connections are increasingly faster. The report also shows that mobile broadband is gaining momentum in Europe, with a 54% increase since January and now at a penetration rate of 4.2% per 100 citizens.

New figures published by the Commission show that in the last year the number of broadband lines continued to grow throughout the EU by 10.7% on average (between July 2008 and July 2009), despite the gloomy economic environment . On 1 July 2009, there were around 120 million fixed broadband lines in the EU, of which 11.5 million lines have been added since July 2008.

Denmark and the Netherlands continue to be world leaders in broadband take up, with nearly 40% of the population having a broadband connection, but growth rates are slowing as they approach saturation. Nine EU countries (Denmark 37.3%, the Netherlands 36.2%, Sweden 31.3%, Finland 30.7%, Luxembourg 28.8%, the United Kingdom 28.4%, France 27.7%, Germany 27.5% and now also Belgium 27.5%) are above the United States, where the level of broadband take up stands at 25.8% and is slowing according to OECD May 2009 statistics. Luxembourg (+18.3%) and Portugal (+11.7%) experienced faster growth in 2009 than in 2008.

Commission's report also shows that EU citizens enjoy higher speeds and better quality broadband than a year ago. 80% of broadband lines in the EU deliver speeds above 2 Mbps (75% a year ago), fast enough to watch streaming videos online, and more than 15% above 10 Mbps (up 10% since January 2009). Greater data transmission speeds generally provide customers with more and better choice at a lower price per megabit.

Broadband availability is a key indicator of the development of information and communication technologies. The Commission reports twice a year on the development of broadband markets in the EU with data validated by Member States.