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The European Broadband Scorecard 2014

Published 12|03|14

1.1 Background to the European Broadband Scorecard

In December 2010, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, published a strategy document entitled Britain's Superfast Broadband Future. The document set out the Government's ambition that the UK 'should have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015'. As well as committing to benchmark the UK against other EU countries, the Government intends to ensure that all UK premises can experience download speeds of at least 2Mbit/s by 2015 and that ninety per cent of premises can access superfast broadband. To this end, it has allocated £530 million to stimulate commercial investment in the rollout of high speed broadband in rural communities.

Within DCMS, BDUK proposed a Scorecard for measuring the development of the UK's broadband network relative to those in other EU countries, based on four headline indicators: coverage and take-up, speed, price and choice (Figure 1).

Figure 1 BDUK's proposed metrics for inclusion in the Scorecard

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Source: BDUK

In December 2011, Ofcom agreed to identify, collate and publish the best available data relating to each of these metrics. We revised BDUK's framework, splitting 'coverage and take-up' into two and including information on the proportion of the population that use the internet and perform tasks online (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Ofcom's proposed metrics for inclusion in the Scorecard

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In August 2012, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport set a further target that the UK should have the fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015. We published the first edition of this Scorecard in March 2013. In it we set out the principles we would follow when choosing our data sources. We have repeated these principles below, in Sections 1.2 and 1.3.

The charts in this Scorecard focus on the UK's position relative to the other EU5 countries (France, Germany, Italy and Spain). The factors that affect the development of broadband networks, such as geography, population size and density, and legacy infrastructure, differ significantly between the 28 EU Member States. For this reason we consider it more appropriate to compare the UK's broadband network with those in other major European economies than with those in all EU28 countries. For completeness, however, Annex A provides EU27 data for the metrics in the Scorecard, where such data are available.

Figure 4 Overview of the UK’s position on the Scorecard relative to the EU5 (excluding pricing)

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Figure 5 Overview of the UK’s position on the Scorecard relative to the EU5: pricing

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