High speed internet access has become as essential as water and electricity in the EU, claims Tim Johnson, chief analyst at broadband research specialists, Point Topic .
“Broadband is going to be on a par with water and electricity in terms of how much people need it and how much difference it makes to their lives.
“It is a major utility – the home which hasn’t got it will be seriously positioned.”
The target is for the whole of the EU to have access to super fast broadband at home by 2020 and according to the Broadband Coverage in Europe in 2011 study, the aim is half-way towards being achieved.
More than 50 per cent of homes in Europe are using superfast broadband and 96 per cent is receiving basic broadband.
In the UK, there is 100 per cent coverage for basic broadband and 58 per cent for superfast broadband.
Benelux and Malta have around 98 per cent coverage superfast broadband, the Mediterranean countries have 11 per cent and rural areas across Europe have 12 per cent.
Using a combination of technologies predominantly featuring fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) with fibre optic cables laid by TV companies, faster broadband is becoming easier to access for more people.
Tim Johnson believes that fibre-to-the-cabinet (VDSL) will be the method to close the final gap, using copper wires and fibres encased in cabinets on the street.
“What can go a lot further than has generally been acknowledged is VDSL, which is a lot cheaper.”
It is estimated that €7bn is to be allocated for EU investment in broadband.