European Broadband User Numbers Soar in 2004
Dec 17, 2004
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Access to broadband Internet services has soared across Europe during 2004, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

Nearly half of Internet households now access the Internet using broadband, the research firm says, and the broadband subscriber base is predicted to reach 38 million households by the end of 2004, an increase of 61 percent over 2003. The firm concludes that service providers must deliver lower prices, faster speeds, and bundled services in order to remain competitive. It also predicts that more than half of all European households, or 88.4 million, will have broadband service by 2008.

As usual, broadband adoption varies significantly from one European country to another. The leading market today is The Netherlands, where 45 percent of all homes will have a broadband connection by the end of 2004. By contrast, Germany, Ireland, and Greece will still have penetration rates below 20 percent. Strategy Analytics concludes that the countries with the fastest adoption rates are those with the greatest levels of competition between service providers.

"2004 has been the year of local loop unbundling (LLU)," notes Martin Olausson, senior analyst, Broadband Media and Communications. "French consumers in particular have benefited from intense rivalry between competing service providers and the incumbent, France Telecom. We fully expect a similar impact in other European countries once LLU becomes more widely available."

The majority of European broadband users continue to choose DSL services, which have an 81-percent share of the market. Most of the rest use cable (19 percent), while a small minority subscribes to other services such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). Strategy Analytics predicts that DSL will maintain this position until 2008, but that emerging services such as FTTH and wireless will gain share.

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