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  • Arnold Kürsteiner

Point Topic in Europe – Key publications with our European subsidiary Expert Intelligence

Updated: Mar 18

Key publications:


March 2024:

FTTP Take-Up in Europe – Tracking full fibre adoption across the continent.


Full fibre (FTTP/H/B, we will call it FTTP) rollout continues across Europe, with an increasing percentage of households being able to access fibre broadband. However, after the investment and planning efforts have been spent on putting fibre in the ground (or in the area), the operators are facing a rather more difficult challenge of persuading consumers to take up the service. We look at the data. 


Between 2021 and 2022, we saw the largest positive change in the FTTP adoption rate in Sweden, where it went up from 77.3% to 90.3% (+13%). While enjoying healthy competition in the market, the country saw a 6% increase in fibre broadband subscribers. 


At the other end of the spectrum, fibre adoption rate fell from 97.5% to 83.3% in Finland (-14.2%). In this country, the number of FTTP homes passed grew by 26% while the number of fibre broadband subscribers increased by only 7.6%. Nevertheless, fibre adoption in Finland is still much higher than the EU average. 


We looked at various factors that may influence fibre adoption rates and found strong to moderate negative correlation with xDSL market share (xDSL share of all fixed broadband subscribers) in all but seven countries. One could (cautiously) argue this suggests that consumers tend to migrate from xDSL to full fibre networks, not least because it’s primarily xDSL network operators who upgrade their infrastructure to FTTP. 


Germany and France are a great comparison here. There are well-established (and growing!) VDSL and Docsis 3.0/3.1 (superfast and ultrafast) networks in Germany, with 94.8% and 62.8% coverage, respectively, in mid-2022. In France, these figures were 15.9% and 20.2%. Between 2013 and 2022, VDSL and Docsis 3.0/3.1 coverage in Germany has been growing steadily (Docsis coverage fell for the first time only in 2022). 


There are other factors too. 


Our recent survey of UK consumers showed that between 16% and 30% per cent of the respondents were unaware of their broadband speed tier, and 7% to 39% of the respondents did not know whether their broadband service was provided over full fibre. 


We also see consumers sticking to the status quo, a lack of perceived reward of aversion to the disruption of having an engineer visit and/or switching tariffs, and more recently the rise of competitive 5G-powered FWA access (according to a recent Ericsson survey, link in full article, respondents were more satisfied with 5G FWA than FTTP). 


This research combines data from two of our parent company Point Topic’s services - Global Broadband Statistics and European Broadband Operators and Tariffs - as well as other inputs such as the Broadband Coverage in Europe studies which Point Topic co-authored for the European Commission. All the data quoted in this analysis refers to mid-2022. Click the link below to see the full report (it has additional sections and many more graphs!). 




The report is available as free analysis here.


February 2024:

European 2030 Broadband Forecasts – German Gigabit Deployments Stall While Italy Sails Ahead



With the addition of most recent 2022 data, Expert Intelligence has released their improved fixed gigabit broadband rollout projections up to 2030, highlighting continued disparities. Key findings include a notable -10% downward revision for Germany, with projected FTTP availability of just 48.7% by 2030. Other countries such as France, the UK, and Poland have also seen reductions in their forecasts. Finland, Italy, Austria, and Slovakia are identified as making the largest gains, with Italy notably surpassing Germany in projections for gigabit-capable (Very High Capacity Networks – VHCN) coverage.


Our data and analysis shows that while cable networks are rapidly upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1, most upgrades are now complete and future growth will have to come from fibre build. While FTTP remains the dominant mode of new network build-outs, DOCSIS 3.x upgrades are mainly enhancing existing cable infrastructures.


This is particularly evident when comparing Germany against Italy. Despite rapid growth in gigabit coverage via DOCSIS 3.1 from 16% in 2019 to 57% in 2022, German cable infrastructure coverage is not growing beyond 62%. German FTTP growth stands at about 3% per year since 2019. Overall this means future growth will have to mostly come from fibre roll-out, where Germany lags behind many other countries.


Italy, however, has demonstrated a robust 7% annual increment in FTTP coverage over the same period, positioning it to potentially outpace Germany by the decade's end.


The country's broadband advancement may replicate Spain's experience, which is looking back on a decade of significant infrastructure development, attributed to strong competition, a supportive regulatory framework, and substantial EU funding.



European Broadband Operators and Tariffs Benchmark Report, Q4 2023 – Faster and more affordable tariffs across all technology groups.


Point Topic is tracking changes in European broadband operators and tariffs in its latest release of the European Broadband Operators and Tariffs Benchmark Report for Q4 2023. The report compares trends from Q2 to Q4 2023 across standalone and bundled broadband tariffs, residential and business packages, and across fibre, copper and cable.


Key findings include a decrease in average subscription charges per Mbps for all technologies, but most pronounced for copper tariffs. Average bandwidths offered have grown significantly for fibre-based tarrifs, from 693 to 994 Mbps.



Switzerland, Iceland, Italy and France lead the way with average residential tariffs on offer all above 1Gbps downstream speeds, while Switzerland also offers the cheapest broadband measured at average cost per Mbps ($PPP). The report also compares average tariffs and bandwidths in Eastern and Western Europe, showing similarities in average download speed but differences in subscription charges.


In the business sector, copper tariffs decreased by 23.1% with a 25% increase in average download speed, while fibre tariffs saw a 43.4% increase in download speed and a 15.3% decrease in monthly charges.


The full free analysis report can be found here.


For more information on our EuroBOT (Broadband Operators & Tariffs) product click here.


January 2024:

European Broadband Markets – 2022 Added to Time Series

2022 marks yet another year of Point Topic, alongside Omdia, carrying out the ‘Broadband Coverage in Europe’ study for the European Commission. The full report is available publicly at https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/broadband-coverage-europe-2022.


Point Topic and Expert Intelligence offer a European NUTS3-level 2011-2022 broadband coverage time series for our European Broadband Markets product, covering main technology groups (including FTTP), bandwidth splits, and standardised pan-European demographic data. Our most recent release adds 2022 to the time series, alongside an updated methodology. 2023 will be added in Q3 of this year.

 

ThinkPoint For Europe – Ireland and Netherlands Point-Granularity Samples Released by Expert Intelligence



The postcode-granularity data service Point Topic has provided for decades in the UK is being replicated in Europe by Expert Intelligence, with Ireland and the Netherlands being the first countries achieving coverage. With a focus on operator and technology availability and tariff data, new markets will be captured soon, with the same eye for detail and validation of data valued by clients of ThinkPoint. All of this is powered by our pan-European data platform ‘EDGAP’ (European Demographic and Geographic Analytics Platform), allowing seamless integration of data across all European countries.

 

December 2023:

Hardware View in Europe – Which ISP uses what?

As part of ongoing research at Expert Intelligence, we are providing datasets of European broadband ISPs and the hardware they are providing to clients, alongside details on tariff and geographical availability.



July 2023:

‘Telecommunications Policy’ Journal publishes research using Point Topic data

The paper “Economic growth and broadband access: The European urban-rural digital divide” by Michaël de Clercq et al. has, after years in the making, been published. The authors go into significant detail on the effects of broadband deployment, looking at different levels of ruralisation and expansion at lower versus higher bandwidths. Point Topic data plays a significant role in providing the core broadband data time series used in the research.


To quote directly: “[...] Results indicate that the high-speed digital expansion of rural Europe is a potential gamechanger for further rural development policies through its role as a general-purpose infrastructure, and consequently argue in favour of increased efforts to close the urban-rural digital gap.


We are proud and honoured to see our data utilized in research and congratulate Michaël and his team on his hard work. The paper can be accessed here.


Expert Intelligence/Point Topic at ITS Madrid 2023 Conference

Expert Intelligence/Point Topic were represented at the 2023 ITS (International Telecommunications Society) in Madrid, where we presented on the role[JO1] [AK2]  of satellite internet in fixed broadband markets and particularly the EC Digital Decade 2030 goals. Our conference paper is available here.


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