Plans for half of Europeans to get 100Mbps by 2020 ain't gonna happen – report

EU auditors also reckon universal 30Mbps unlikely

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Insanely ambitious plans by the EU to connect half of the households in member states to 100Mbps by 2020, have unsurprisingly fallen by the wayside - according to a report.

The European Court of Auditors has confirmed the original target for ultrafast broadband take-up will be missed, with the region having managed just 15 per cent of that target so far.

It also found it is unlikely that EU member states tasked with ensuring all Europeans would receive "at least 30Mbps" will meet the 2020 deadline.

Rural areas remain problematic in most member states, with 14 out of all 28 having less than 50 per cent fast broadband coverage, it said.

Ireland and Italy are unlikely to achieve the 100 per cent coverage at 30Mbps by 2020, it said. "However, if their current plans are implemented as intended, together with Hungary, Ireland and Italy will be better placed to achieve the 2025 targets."

Part of the problem is not just availability but take-up. In Blighty, regulator Ofcom has said 4 million premises (pdf) could upgrade to superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps - despite having availability of around 95 per cent.

Iliana Ivanova, member of the EU Court of Auditors, said: "It is important that the EU sets itself challenging and realistic targets for broadband in the future – and meets them. We make recommendations in the areas of strategic planning, the regulatory environment and fostering competition.”

But it seems many punters are unaware they could upgrade their packages at no extra cost.

Separately the commission this week approved a new Electronic Communications Code intended to boost investment in “full fibre” and 5G mobile. That includes increasing spectrum licences to 20 years and introducing small cells attached to street furniture to boost 5G in urban areas. ®


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