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Monday, May 24, 2010

EC releases 15th Implementation report: mobile up, broadband speeds stalled

The annual review of the 27 markets reveals that even the lowest penetration countries have 13% broadband (Bulgaria, Romania), and that the problem is no longer availability but speed. Almost 3 in 4 competitor broadband lines uses LLU, which is good evidence of investment, but speeds are below 10Mbps - ADSL, not even ADSL2.
Mobile Internet - 10 years after the great 3G licence auctions - is now 4% of mobile operator revenues. Yes, that's right, 4%. Pathetic. Rapid slashing of termination rates and roaming rates should put some pressure on the pigopoly to actually drive mobile Internet.
NGA access is a mess: 'Whilst some NRAs included fibre in the wholesale broadband markets and have imposed obligations (e.g. the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Estonia) others excluded fibre from the market or did not regulate it (e.g. France, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Sweden). The Netherlands have imposed an obligation of unbundling fibre loops. Some NRAs have differentiated the remedies imposed on fibre and copper networks (e.g. Estonia, the Netherlands and Finland).'
It has a filler paragraph on QoS and net neutrality on p56 of the part 1 Staff Working Document, stating that VOIP blocking is the single biggest issue, and noting that it will report by the end of the year:
"In Italy, consumers are now able to withdraw from their contracts in case of divergence with the declared connection speed. The Slovenian NRA issued a recommendation on the provision of broadband speeds, and the Portuguese NRA published a report on the quality of service for access to internet services, highlighting the upload speeds and network latency as the main differences between fixed and mobile networks. The United Kingdom NRA carried out a broadband speeds survey comparing the service provision of the largest internet service providers. In Hungary, several operators were subject to fines for a failure to provide correct information."
P.S. Backhaul costs appear to have stalled in 2002-4 and risen since then, which is a disgrace - see pp102-107. Note in particular how the UK has shadowed the EC average while many competitors have actually reduced wholesale rates in line with what regulators perceive as actual costs - which is almost certainly far less than the technology permits. All that fibre beneath our feet, yet it is doled out like bread rations...

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