Broadband Tariff Benchmark Report Q2 2023
Point Topic tracks the changes in the standalone and bundled broadband tariffs provided by European operators every second quarter. This report presents the latest tariff benchmarks at the end of June 2023.
The complete tariff data is available within Point Topic’s European Broadband Operators and Tariffs (EuroBOT) subscription service. We provide access to the raw data, as well as charts and tables for the tariff s offered. For the full methodology, see the Appendix.
2 What we measure
The tariff database covers all major fixed broadband operators across the EU, UK, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. In total, we track over 212 operators from 31 countries.
Standalone and bundled
We report tariff s where broadband is offered as the only service (standalone) and tariffs where broadband is offered with other services such as TV and telephony (bundled).
Residential and business
We report both business and residential broadband tariffs.
Within this report we look at differences between the three major fixed broadband technologies – copper, cable and fibre. The full tariff database also includes some wireless and mobile broadband tariffs.
For more details on methodology see the Appendix.
3 Global tariffs and bandwidths
We have compared the average subscription charges and corresponding bandwidths for different broadband technologies across Europe. All prices are quoted in US dollars at PPP (purchasing power parity) rates to allow easier comparison.
3.1 Residential broadband packages
As of the end of June 2023, the copper based residential broadband tariffs were the cheapest ($54 PPP) but they also offered the lowest average download speed at 14Mbps. There was little change in these metrics compared to Q2 2022. The average monthly tariffs for cable and fibre broadband were similar ($69 PPP and $67 PPP respectively). However, the fibre based tariff s offered a higher average download speed at 534Mbps, compared to 488Mbps over cable. Year-on-year, the average tariff s based on these technologies decreased only slightly but the average download speeds went up by 15.6% for cable (from 422Mbps to 488Mbps) and by 5.7% for fi bre (from 505Mbps to 534Mbps).
In Q2 2023, the average downstream bandwidth, regardless of technology, was 469Mbps, up from 440Mbps a year ago. As FTTP and Docsis3.1 availability across Europe is becoming more widespread, we recorded 269 residential gigabit tariff s (with downstream bandwidth of at least 900 Mbps) in Q2 2023, compared to 241 such tariffs in Q2 2022.
In 12 months to the end of Q2 2023, the combined average cost per Mbps on broadband packages provided over the three technologies fell from $0.16 PPP to $0.15 PPP. The drop was caused by decrease in the average cost per Mbps over fi bre ($0.14 PPP to $0.13 PPP) and especially cable ($0.17 PPP to $0.14 PPP) (Figure 2). In terms of the cost per Mbps, copper remains by far the most expensive technology at $3.88 PPP, with this metric having gone up further (+7.2%) since Q2 2022. We recorded only 81 copper based residential broadband tariffs this quarter.
3.2 Business broadband packages
We recorded the largest year-on-year change in the average business tariff for fibre – the average monthly charge increased by 20.1% from $142 PPP to $170 PPP. It wasn’t quite matched by the increase in download speed, which went up by 10.3% from 628Mbps to 693Mbps. The B2B sector remains challenging due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, and persistent inflation.
Businesses using cable based broadband saw the largest boost in the average download speed – between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023 it went up by 23.1% from 402Mbps to 496Mbps. At the same time, the average monthly cost for these services has increased by only 5.5%, from $102 PPP to $107 PPP, as cable broadband providers aimed to keep their services attractive in the face of increasing competition from new fibre networks.
In Q2 2023, the combined average download speed grew by 11.4% y-o-y and stood at 588Mbps, largely thanks to the increase in the average speed over cable (Figure 3). The average monthly charge went up from $143 PPP to $165 PPP.
In Q2 2023, the average combined cost per Mbps on business broadband packages went up by 8.9%, from $0.27 PPP to $0.28 PPP (Figure 4). This was mainly as a result of fibre broadband tariffs becoming more expensive, as fibre providers are looking for return on investment. They changed from $0.23 PPP to $0.25 PPP. The cost per Mbps on cable and especially copper platforms has dropped. In the case of cable, the average cost went down by 14.3% to $0.22 PPP. Copper connections became cheaper by 27% and stood at $4.26 PPP.
4. Regional tariffs and bandwidths
In this section, we compare the average tariffs and bandwidths in Eastern and Western Europe. All prices are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow direct comparison between regions (Figure 5).
4.1 Residential broadband packages
At the regional level, we found higher average downstream speed and higher average monthly tariff in the better off economies of Western Europe compared to its Eastern neighbours. Year-on-year, the average speed in this region went up from 472Mbps to 488Mbps, while the average tariff increased from $68 PPP to $70 PPP (Figure 5).
In Eastern Europe, the average downstream speed increased from 363Mbps to 410Mbps, as the region’s operators introduced more ultrafast broadband tariffs. At the same time, the average broadband tariff dropped in this region from $73 PPP to $65 PPP, reflecting both more intense competition and operators reacting to pressures on incomes of many consumers in the challenging economic climate.
At a country level, the countries at the top end of GDP per capita remain at the top of the league by average bandwidth (Table 1). Nearly all of the same countries are also in the top ten by average cost per Mbps (Table 2), thus offering consumers the best value for money.
4.2 Business broadband packages
In Q2 2023, Eastern European businesses were offered lower average monthly tariff s but they came with lower average bandwidth as well (Figure 6). However, they are being offered a better value compared to Q2 2022. Year-on-year, the average speed in this region increased from 318Mbps to 367Mbps while the average cost went down from $131 PPP to $104 PPP.
Business customers in Western Europe saw a boost in the average bandwidth and an increase in cost. Between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023, the former increased from 582Mbps to 613Mbps while the latter shot up from $146 PPP to $178 PPP.
5 Country ranking
In this section, we look at the average monthly tariff for residential broadband services. The average tariff s include copper, cable and fibre broadband services, and cover both standalone and bundled services.
All tariffs are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow comparisons between countries.
6.1 Entry level, median or average?
We are using the three most common comparison aggregations:
The entry level tariff – typically ignores variations in bandwidth caps, time charging, actual bandwidth offered and overall availability of a tariff in the market. Best used to indicate the conditions at the low end of the market and best comparator if you are looking at the market penetration for broadband overall or a particular technology.
The median tariff – the value in the middle of the count of all values in the set. It can be skewed by unbalanced reporting or data gathering. Useful as a general indication of the country market and for inter market comparisons.
The average tariff – doesn’t represent an amount anyone actually pays, skewed by extremes in price. The best single number for comparing whole country markets when you want to understand the range of options for the consumer.
There is a difference in the relative country performance depending on which metric is used and the variation can be significant.
The above chart (Figure 7) highlights some of the issues we have outlined above.
The relatively small spreads in Denmark, France, Germany, and Czech Republic suggest that it is relatively easy to get more bandwidth, at least in terms of cost, however the entry level costs remain quite high in Denmark, France and Germany. Belgium and Greece also have relatively high entry level tariffs.
There is also an issue of consumers getting different value for money for similar tariffs. Germany is an example where the rollout of FTTP services and their adoption has been slower compared to other EU countries. As a result, the average speed there in Q2 2023 was 312Mbps with the average tariff at $62.86 PPP. In France, where FTTP rollout and take-up are progressing well, consumers paid on average $64.30 but the average downstream speed in the country was just above 1Gbps.
Looking at the most expensive markets in terms of median tariffs we also see some variation in the entry level and average ones. Upgrading to higher tier tariffs is especially expensive in Belgium, Poland, Norway and Cyprus. When it come to median tariffs, the countries in the top ten league tend to be at the high end of economic development or have relatively less competition in their fixed broadband markets.
6 Country ranking tables
Ranking countries using the average cost of broadband subscriptions is a straightforward idea but the variation in entry level versus median and average costs can be significant. To help provide an easy way of comparing directly we have taken the PPP data on the entry level, median and average tariffs, produced rankings and then compared the variance (Table 3).
We have included a ‘variance’ column to indicate how different ranks for the different metrics are spread. So we see that, for example, the wide spread in Italy, Malta, and UK (big differences in entry level, average and median tariffs) is represented by high variance of the rankings. At the other end of the scale countries such as Romania, Bulgaria or Norway rank rather consistently. However, it should be noted that this is only one set of metrics measuring one aspect of the broadband markets so conclusions should not be drawn in isolation.
APPENDIX: Notes on Methodology
The latest dataset of tariff s is available to the subscribers of European Broadband Operators and Tariffs service, and they can conduct their own analysis using this data. If you have any questions, please contact us on email@example.com.
The tariff dataset is updated every six months and it contains multiple fields, such as services included (to reflect bundling with broadband, e.g. video, VoIP, etc.), monthly subscription, activation and installation charges, downstream and upstream speeds, equipment costs, length of contract, service features, and special offers.
The PPP rates used in this analysis are published annually by the World Bank and are readily available to the public free of charge. Some retrospective adjustments to PPP rates were made during the period 2000–2010. We updated all PPP rates during this period accordingly.
Price comparison issues.
This analysis is intended as a general indicator of the trends in pricing in European broadband markets. There are several additional variables that complicate the process of making a direct comparison of broadband prices. These need to be taken into account when making a more in-depth analysis:
Some operators do not report speeds and / or prices for certain tariffs. This is especially common for business broadband. Entries which do not have both a downstream speed and a monthly rental listed have been excluded from this analysis.
ISPs are increasingly focusing on bundling value-added services in order to increase revenue. We started recording bundled services in Q1 2007. When analysing broadband pricing in this report, we include both standalone and bundled broadband services, which can skew the comparison. However, standalone broadband tariff s still constitute two thirds of all tariff s included in this analysis.
Some operators off er entry level services with data volume limits. In most cases, these limits are generous enough so as not to affect light or medium users. Point Topic includes this type of service as a reasonable entry level service, since it does not involve adding a usage charge to the monthly cost for the typical user.
Changes to reporting
These changes do not affect the full tariff database but only this analysis.
We have excluded all tariff s which report a monthly subscription charge higher than $5,000 PPP (purchasing power parity) or which report no monthly subscription charge.
We have excluded all VDSL tariff s from the DSL category and included them in the fi bre category instead.