Europe Set to Miss Digital Deadline – Point Topic

The European Commission's Digital Agenda target of hooking up every home and business with a broadband connection of at least 30 Mbit/s by 2020 looks doomed, according to research house Point Topic.

The EC set the target for the European Union's 28 member countries in 2010, but not all the pieces of the puzzle have come together, states Point Topic Ltd. CEO Oliver Johnson. (See Europe's Broadband Challenge and Europe's 'Digital Oxygen'.)

"The inconvenient truth is that Europe is on track to miss its Digital Agenda target for 30Mbit/s broadband for every home and business, with some countries missing more than others," he tells Light Reading. "The policy makers and the rest of Europe need to face up to this and face up to what they need to do about it. And as usual, it is the rural areas that will suffer the most," notes Johnson, who has published a blog and interactive map that shows the extent to which each country is likely to miss the target.

"Unless Europe recognizes the deficit -- which is becoming more and more obvious by the day -- and puts together a funded action plan, then the target will be missed and Europe will be disadvantaged against the rest of the world," adds Johnson.

For more fixed broadband market coverage and insights, check out our dedicated Gigabit/Broadband content channel here on Light Reading.

One item that policymakers need to add to their "to do" list right now is to re-engage with the region's many satellite broadband service providers, which can play an important role in reaching rural and remote areas across Europe. The satellite players have not been ignored, notes Johnson, "but they certainly feel marginalized. And there is an assumption that they can deliver 30Mbit/s broadband as part of their business strategies and play a role in meeting the Digital Agenda target. But there is a disconnect between the EC's assumptions and what the satellite players feel they can deliver in terms of viable commercial services," notes the Point Topic man.

See Point Topic's interactive map to check out which countries are going to come closest to meeting the 2020 target and which look set to be a long way off.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

DHagar 5/29/2015 | 12:32:07 PM
Re: Can the EC Prove Point Topic Wrong kq4ym, you make a good point.  Ten year goals with many required components, are more "aspirational" than goals for execution.  It would be interesting to look more closely at the EC plan to see what the assumptions were, what has changed, and what the purpose was.  It will also be interesting to now watch if they just "reset" the goals for the next ten years or truly break it down to achieve their universal digital connection vision.
kq4ym 5/29/2015 | 11:17:18 AM
Re: Can the EC Prove Point Topic Wrong I'm skeptical of ten year plans that have so many moving parts that it actually a gambling proposition whether the deadline can be met successfully. Setting the 2020 date might have seemed reasonable in 2010, but with differing economic climates during the decade it's not surprising that the mark will be missed.
DHagar 5/28/2015 | 2:29:56 PM
Re: Can the EC Prove Point Topic Wrong Ray, the answer seems to lie in your report on the satellite option.  It appears that they need to use the full array of options to "connect the dots"?

Having said that, you are absolutely correct.  Although 90%+ may be good enough for some, it creates an island for those not connected.  We truly need to understand the magnitude of digital connectivity.

How does their penetration of digital connectivity compare to other regions around the world?  Like China, the Arab countries, and the US?
[email protected] 5/28/2015 | 6:36:08 AM
Can the EC prove Point Topic wrong? Can the EC prove Point Topic wrong? I doubt it. To start formulating new plans now to make up teh shortfall looks beyond the means of the slow-moving EC machine.

More importantly - does anyone care about those that will not have a fast broadband connection? Will 94-98% coverage of 30 Mbit/s be deemed 'good enough' by policymakers and governments?

Will 30 Mbit/s be sufficient for small businesses in 2020 anyway? 

Lots of questions, obviously. That digital divide might only impact a small percentage but it might be catastrohic in terms of education, heaklthcare, social inclusion and employment possibilities. 
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