On 28 November, the European Commission released the report of the Communications Committee (COCOM) on the state of broadband in Europe as at 01 July 2008. According to this report there were around 107 million broadband lines in the EU (European Union), resulting in a 19.3% increase in lines (17 million new lines) over July 2007, as well as a 3.5% increase in the broadband penetration rate (which rose from 18.2% to 21.7% over the course of the year).
At the same time the gap between national penetration rates narrowed, with a variation now between 37.2% in Denmark (34.1% in 2007), 18.5% in Portugal and 9.5% in Bulgaria (5.7% in 2007), with the European average at 21.7%.
In terms of access speeds, which were measured for the first time, it was reported that 62% of connections were between 2 and 10 Mbps, 25% have speeds under 2 Mbps, while 12.8% of connections have speeds in excess of 10 Mbps.
While few countries provided data, the report also covered mobile broadband for the first time, reporting 34 million subscribers (excluding France, Holland and the United kingdom for which figure were not reported) and a penetration rate between 0.3% in Belgium and 19.5% in Spain, with a figure of 9.1% reported for Portugal and a European average rate of 6.9%.
It should be noted, however, that the criteria used by the EC are broader than those used by ANACOM. On the one hand, the indicators published by COCOM measure the use of a range of services which goes beyond the simple use of the broadband Internet access service (for example, Mobile TV, video-telephony services). On the other hand, the period used by COCOM for classifying a user as active (use of the service in the last 90 days) differs from the period of 30 days used by ANACOM. As such, and as the authors of the document themselves recognise, the penetration of mobile broadband measured according to COCOM's indicators is not comparable with fixed broadband penetration.
Broadband access in the EU: situation at 1 July 2008http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/implementation_enforcement/broadband_access/Broadband_data_july_08.pdf
European Commission Press Release: ''Broadband: Gap between best and worst performing countries in Europe narrowing''http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1831&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en