European broadband rate of adoption slowing except in UK

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A new study from the European Competitive Telecommunications Association suggests that the rate of broadband takeup across much of Europe dropped dramatically in the last year.

The number of subscriptions grew 7% in the 3rd quarter of 2006, compared to 23% in the same quarter of 2005. Growth almost stopped in several countries including Denmark and Belgium.

“The Scorecard shows that growth has stalled in a number of countries where we have seen the power of the incumbent on the increase, including Denmark and Belgium, which experienced a paltry 3 per cent growth in broadband penetration,” said Steen Clausen, managing director of ECTA.

In many European countries, former monopoly telecoms operators are taking back broadband customers from other companies.

Bucking the trend, both the UK and Germany saw continued significant growth in broadband takeup.

“It seems that the UK has learnt some of the lessons that propelled France up the league table, and is now reaping those rewards with a multitude of offers to consumers. Germany too is starting to show signs of progress which is very welcome after a slow start,” Clausen said.

ECTA warned that Europe’s traditionally strong position in the ‘fast track’ of global broadband take-up could be put at risk if regulators fail to re-enforce competition and open markets.

Andy Merrett