The take-up rate of broadband internet access slowed sharply across Europe last year.
At the same time former monopoly operators are reclaiming market share lost to rivals in recent years in some key markets, the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) said in a statement Thursday. ECTA believes the two trends are connected.
Growth in the number of broadband subscriptions grew 7% in the third quarter of last year, compared with 23% in the third quarter of 2005, according to the ECTA Broadband Scorecard, a quarterly analysis of the market.
Growth almost stalled in a number of countries including Denmark and Belgium, which experienced just 3% growth. France saw growth slow to 10% after a much stronger performance in 2005, the report found. Spain, Sweden and Austria also suffered a slowdown, it said.
But the UK gained another place in the rankings, going from eighth in Q3 2004 to sixth in the same quarter of last year. And France has fallen to eighth place in ECTA's scorecard, well behind the UK for the first time.
"The Scorecard shows that growth has stalled in a number of countries where we have seen the power of the incumbent on the increase," said Steen Clausen, managing director of ECTA.
"This is extremely disappointing news from some of the countries which have traditionally been at the forefront of Europe's broadband revolution," Clausen said.