Mapping Broadband Coverage in Spain
Updated: Jun 21, 2022
National coverage by broadband technology
At the end of June 2020, 95.5% of Spanish households had access to fixed broadband services, slightly below the EU average 97.4%. In rural areas fixed broadband coverage decreased by 0.4 percentage points increase compared to the previous year and reached 92.9% rural households. In terms of NGA broadband availability, coverage increased both at a national and rural level, to reach 92.3% of households nationally, up from 89.8%. Spain once again delivered a significant 11.4 percentage point coverage increase in rural NGA coverage from mid-2019, which beats the 11.1 percentage points increase from 2018 to 2019. 70.1% of rural households had access to high speed NGA broadband services as of mid-2020.
FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1 together covered 91.7% of households at a national level, and 64.2% of rural households. Except for national fixed broadband coverage, Spain scored better coverage levels than the EU average in all three combination categories, at both national and rural levels.
Looking at individual technologies, DSL remained the most prevalent technology in Spain, slightly down over the study period with 89.1% of households covered. VDSL coverage also went down by a slight 0.2 percentage points to 11.6% of households, highlighting the low proportion of DSL networks that had been upgraded to VDSL as Spanish operators focus on new FTTP deployments rather than copper networks upgrades. For this reason, there were no VDSL2 Vectoring deployments reported in this edition of this study. The trend of decreasing DSL and VDSL coverage is due to a combination of increased number of households and targeted decommissioning. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) was available to 35.5% of Spanish households.
In terms of NGA broadband, Spanish operators expanded their FTTP network infrastructure with FTTP coverage increasing by 4.6 percentage points and FTTP broadband services being available to 84.9% of households at the end of June 2020. Cable modem DOCSIS 3.1 went down by 3.1 percentage points over the period, to 45.8% of homes passed. Notably, Spanish cable network operators deployed DOCSIS 3.1 standard over the whole footprint of their cable networks by mid- 2019. The continued advancements in both FTTP and DOCSIS 3.1 availability make Spain one of the leaders among the study countries in terms of gigabit speed connectivity.
LTE coverage continued to improve in Spain over the study period, to reach 99.9% of Spanish homes. When the average coverage of LTE networks of all mobile network operators is considered, on average 95.3% of people in Spain had access to LTE services at the end of June 2020. 5G coverage is estimated to have been at 12.5% nationally by mid-2020. By this point, only Vodafone had started to deploy commercial 5G coverage in Spain 1. Other operators were scheduled to start their commercial roll-out from September 2020, which is after the cut-off point for this survey 2 .
Looking at rural areas of Spain, as was the case on a national level, DSL was the most common broadband technology for rural households, with 83.1% of households covered. Fixed Wireless Access was also this year the second most prevalent broadband access type in rural Spain, with 64.0%. However, FTTP is not far behind with 59.5% coverage in third.
In terms of rural NGA coverage, as was the case on a national level, FTTP was the most widespread technology, with 59.5% of households covered. Since mid-2019, FTTP recorded a jump in coverage, having increased by 13.1 percentage points. This follows a 13.8 percentage point jump in the previous year.
These fast increases in rural FTTP coverage were driven by projects of the 2018 and 2019 tenders of the Spanish national broadband plan, “Programa Nacional de Extensión de la Banda Ancha de Nueva Generación (PEBA-NGA)” which primarily focused on rural areas, given an already high FTTP coverage in urban areas 3 . VDSL was available to 15.1% of rural households, and cable modem DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 were both available to 10.8% of rural households, down by 0.4 percentage points. FTTP & DOCSIS 3.1 rural coverage stood at 64.2%, which beats the EU average of 27.8% resoundingly.
Lastly, rural LTE coverage stood at 99.3% of households at the end of June 2020, thus remaining above the EU average of 98.6%. Over the study period, LTE coverage of rural areas increased by 0.5 percentage points. In mid-2020 Spain did not have commercial 5G coverage in rural areas.
Regional coverage by broadband technology
As was the case in previous iterations of the study, fixed broadband coverage varied across Spanish regions. Coverage was the lowest in El Hierro, at 81.1% of households covered, and the highest in the regions of Melilla and Menorca, which had universal fixed broadband availability (100.0%). 7 out of 59 regions had coverage below 90%.
NGA coverage across Spanish regions varied more widely than fixed broadband coverage, as witnessed in the majority of study countries. By mid-2020, NGA coverage ranged from 63.7% in La Palma to 98.4% in Madrid (with universal coverage in the African exclave of Melilla). This year, no region had NGA broadband coverage levels below 60%.
The following broadband coverage levels were recorded in Spanish regions outside mainland Europe:
Data tables for Spain
Note: The 2020 figures represent the state of broadband coverage at the end of June 2020. The 2019 (end of June) and 2018 (end of June) figures are drawn from the previous studies conducted by IHS Markit, Omdia, and Point Topic. All restatements are highlighted in italics.