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This article was published on March 12, 2014

UK tops Europe’s superfast broadband table

UK tops Europe’s superfast broadband table
Ben Woods
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Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

The UK now has more subscribers to superfast broadband services than Europe’s five largest economies, with connections of 30Mbps or faster now available to 73 percent of the population, up from 60 percent in 2011, according to Ofcom.

The figures were revealed today by communications watchdog Ofcom in its European Broadband Scorecard which looks at availability and uptake of fixed line and mobile broadband services across Europe. Most of the data was collected throughout 2013.

The increase in availability of superfast packages has taken the UK from third to first for coverage among the ‘EU5’ (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), and as well as being available to more people, it seems it’s actually being used by more people too. Uptake of superfast services in the UK is also the highest of any EU5 country at 9 in 100 people – Spain is in second place with 6 in every 100 people.

The UK performed strongly in mobile broadband take-up too, with 84 in 100 people having a connection as measured in January 2013, up from 64 per 100 in January 2012. This increase saw the UK leapfrog Spain to take the lead in uptake of mobile broadband connections – for reference, Spain’s performance for January 2013 was 54 out of every 100 people. Obviously, now another year on, it’s possible (and likely) that these figures are higher for both the UK and other EU5 countries.

Government Communications Minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the news of the UK’s strong performance relative to Europe:

As part of the Government’s long term economic plan, broadband in the UK is going through a remarkable transformation. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is accelerating – Britons already do more business online than any other European country, and the news that we now have the best superfast coverage of all five leading European economies is testament to the progress made to date.

As well as having access – and being willing to pay for – superfast broadband, it seems UK-dwellers are also weaving the Web into their daily life. According to the figures 77 percent of people have bought goods online in the last year, 87 percent of people use the Internet at least once a week and only 8 percent of the UK has never used the Internet at all – these figures represent the highest results from EU5 countries.

Looking at price of superfast (and normal) broadband services, the UK fared less well: “Ofcom has also analyzed a range of broadband product ‘baskets’, by examining average and lowest prices available for different packages. The UK comes either first or second within the EU5 on all measures of average price, and either second or third on measures of the lowest available price,” Ofcom said.

So, it seems we’re not only demanding access to it and being the most willing to pay for it – but we’re also paying more than some other European countries too. It’s worth noting that, due to the complexity of comparing countries with different geography, population size, density and legacy infrastructure, only the five largest countries were included in the comparative report – although data for all EU28 countries is provided in the full report.

➤ Ofcom

Featured Image Credit – Getty Images