European countries ahead of US on broadband, study says

Eight European countries have broadband penetration higher than 22 percent, putting them ahead of the US, according to the European Commission's 13th Progress Report on the Single Telecoms Market.

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Eight European countries have broadband penetration higher than 22 percent, putting them ahead of the US, according to the European Commission's 13th Progress Report on the Single Telecoms Market.

Denmark tops the list with 35.6 percent of households having access to broadband services. In Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden it exceeds 30 percent.

The UK, Belgium, France and Luxembourg are also ahead of the US, according to the Commission.

Bulgaria has the lowest broadband penetration of the EU member states, with 7.6 percent.

Nineteen million broadband lines were added during last year, landing overall penetration at 20 percent.

But fixed-line broadband isn't the only communications service that grew during last year. Mobile penetration grew to 112 percent, compared to 103 percent in 2006. At the same time 3G mobile penetration doubled and mobile data services grew 40 percent.

The EU plays an important role, and can take some of the credit for continued growth, according to Viviane Reding, the EU's Telecoms Commissioner.

But she also says her work isn't done. Incumbent carriers can expect to be put under more pressure.

"Competition is limited for access to the fixed network which is still provided to 86.5% of customers over the incumbent's infrastructure," said Reding, in a statement.

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