Although broadband coverage has generally been improving across the EU, not all targets set for 2020 will be met, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The EU's goal of ensuring that half of European households have ultra-fast broadband connections by 2020 is significantly behind target, say the auditors. Rural areas, in particular, remain less well connected than cities.
While nearly all Member States achieved the target for basic broadband coverage, this will most likely not be the case for the 2020 targets for fast (over 30 Megabits per second - Mbps) and ultra-fast (over 100 Mbps) broadband. Rural areas remain problematic in most Member States; 14 out of all 28 Member States had less than 50% fast broadband coverage in rural areas. Moreover, only 15% of all households had subscribed to ultra-fast broadband by mid-2017.
"For Europe to remain competitive in the global economy, and for the benefit of citizens and government, the good levels of internet speed and access provided by broadband are essential," said Iliana Ivanova, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. "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."