UK overtakes major EU nations for superfast broadband

12 March 2014

Fibre optic cacle

The UK has the highest take-up and coverage of superfast broadband among leading European economies, new figures show.

Ofcom’s European Broadband Scorecard, published today, shows that the UK leads the EU’s five biggest economies on most measures of coverage, take-up, usage and choice for both mobile and fixed broadband, and performs well on price.

The report finds that the availability of superfast broadband has increased in the UK from around 60% at the end of 2011 to 73%. This has taken the country from third to first for coverage among the 'EU5' (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK).

Take-up of superfast broadband, which is capable of providing speeds equal to or greater than 30Mbit/s, had reached nine in every 100 people in the UK at the start of last year, the highest in the EU5 ahead of Spain (6 in 100) in second place.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: 'This is excellent progress for the UK, but there is more to be done. We want to see even wider availability of superfast broadband across the UK, so as many people as possible can enjoy faster speeds to access the internet.

'There is also more progress to be made to ensure consumers receive consistently high quality of service, including faster line repairs and installations for broadband and telephony.'

Where the UK ranks

Among the EU5, using the most recent comparable data, the UK has:

  • highest broadband take-up (all types, by household), at 83%;
  • highest proportion of people to have bought goods online over a year (77%);
  • highest weekly usage of the internet (87%);
  • lowest proportion of people who have never used the internet (8%).

Ofcom has also analysed a range of broadband product 'baskets', by examining average and lowest prices available for different packages. The UK comes either first or second within the EU5 on all measures of average price, and either second or third on measures of the lowest available price.

Today’s European Broadband Scorecard is Ofcom’s second report for Government on the coverage, take-up, usage, price and choice of fixed and mobile broadband services in the UK, relative to other European countries.