UK and European Broadband Speeds Get Cheaper

The European Commission (EC) has released its latest progress report on the various member states and their telecoms markets. It reveals that the price of broadband has, on average, fallen by 19% from €38.2 (£35.44) per month in 2007 to €31 (£28.74) in 2008 for speeds of between 1 to 2Mbps. Some 75% of EU consumers now have a connection of 2Mbps or more.

The price of broadband with 2 to 4Mbps download speeds also fell by 29% in 2008 over the same period in 2007 (from €37 to €52 per month). However the trend becomes less pronounced when you hit speeds of 4 to 8Mbps, which only dropped by 4% (from €48.6 to €46.6 per month).

"European users now enjoy higher broadband speeds at lower prices thanks to more competition in the broadband market," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

"The right combination of competition between companies and regulation means that prices are down and internet speeds are up. The majority of European broadband users can get online at speeds of above 2 Megabits per second, a speed that allows TV over internet, at cheaper prices.

The trend is good but there are still important differences in prices between countries. We need to ensure a Single Market for telecoms by having a consistent set of telecoms rules for the whole of the EU."

Curiously the 4% of EU broadband users with slower speeds - 144Kbps to 512Kbps or 0.14Mbps to 0.5Mbps if you prefer - saw prices rise by 7% from €28.2 to €30.2 per month. The study showed that around 80% of offers in the EU are unmetered, although many ISPs in the UK that claim to be unmetered or unlimited often have hidden restrictions and Fair Usage Policy's (FUP).

Meanwhile UK broadband take-up has continued to grow and reached 28.4% of the population in January 2009, up 2.7% over January 2008. The UK is so far the only Member State where the incumbent operator has functionally separated its network from the parts of the company which provide services. BT's broadband market share is just 25.4% compared to an EU average of 45.6%.

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