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UK leads the EU 'big five' for superfast broadband, says Analysys Mason

"This report shows that the UK does very well on most superfast broadband benchmarks today and that by 2018 it will continue to outpace its major European competitors."

The UK is outperforming the major European economies on key measures for superfast broadband according to a new international benchmarking study by Analysys Mason. The report reveals the UK is ahead of its European peers on measures such as coverage, take-up, average speeds and prices – boasting the most-competitive broadband market out of all countries featured in the report.

The report – International benchmark of superfast broadband – commissioned by BT, aims to answer the question of whether the UK is falling behind international peers in superfast broadband services.  It presents factual data up to 2012 alongside Analysys Mason’s forecast to 2018.

The research shows that more than 70% of premises in the UK were able to access superfast broadband at the end of 2012, which puts the country ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain in terms of availability – and the report predicts it will be among the best performing countries worldwide by 2018.

“There is an ongoing debate about the UK’s performance relative to other countries for superfast broadband,” says Analysys Mason Partner Matt Yardley.

“This report shows that the UK does very well on most superfast broadband benchmarks today and that by 2018 it will continue to outpace its major European competitors and even outperform Japan and the USA on some measures.”

Relative to the other 'big five' European countries, the UK ranks:

  • first for superfast broadband coverage: Over 70% of premises could access superfast broadband at the end of 2012 in the UK. This compares with 66% in Germany, the next best-performing country. Analysys Mason expects that by 2018, 95% of UK premises will have access to superfast broadband, keeping it ahead of the other large European markets
  • first for superfast broadband take up: Adoption was higher in the UK at the end of 2012 than elsewhere in the big five, at 18% of premises. By 2018, Analysys Mason predicts that half of UK premises will subscribe to superfast broadband, compared with the Western European average of 42%
  • first for average measured downstream bandwidth based on data from Ookla: At 22.6Mbps (see note to Editors),1 the UK leads the top-five European economies
  • first for the overall competitiveness of the broadband market
  • third for prices of superfast broadband: Prices for superfast broadband in the UK are similar to the average price in the EU5, though higher than the lowest priced offers in France and Germany. Of the incumbent operators in the EU5, BT Retail’s prices are lowest when compared with those of France Telecom, Telefónica, Deutsche Telecom and Telecom Italia.

Only smaller European countries – such as the Netherlands and Sweden – that have extensive cable coverage or where superfast connections have been available for longer have better or comparable  average speeds, coverage and take-up of superfast broadband than the UK.

The report also concludes that the UK government’s gradualist approach to supporting rural broadband will cost significantly less than government initiatives in other countries, while still providing extensive coverage of superfast broadband.

Report available for download top right.

1 Note to editors: As of 4 September 2013. The Ookla value is a 30-day rolling mean and so the value changes over time.