European operators still heavily reliant on copper for broadband delivery

A report commissioned for the European Commission has revealed that although access to broadband is improving across the EU, operators are still focusing their energies on sweating old copper assets.

More than three-quarters of homes in the European Union (EU) are equipped to access broadband services of more than 30Mbps, but national operators are still heavily focused on upgrading their old copper delivery networks rather than investing in fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology, according to a European Commission report.

In the 12 months to the end of June 2016, 12.8 million new households gained access to high speed broadband over next generation access (NGA) networks, but very high bit rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) technology, which uses copper lines to bridge the last mile into people’s homes, was the key driver of NGA across Europe, with coverage growing by 7.1% to reach 48.2% of European homes during the survey period.

This would suggest that despite a growing clamour for pure FTTP services from both informed users and governments, national operators are still shying away from investing in more expensive fibre infrastructure in favour of upgrading existing copper networks with VDSL or in some cases, ultrafast technology.

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