miércoles, 1 de mayo de 2019

Key factors for the Spanish broadband

In the context of the Broadband Society and the Internet access, broadband encloses any high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up access over traditional analogue or ISDN PSTN services. We analyze it in collaboration with Clàudia Llena.

According to the the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) made by the European Commission on May 2018, the broadband in Spain is very expensive compared to the rest of the countries in the EU. In fact, in 21 countries of the 28 that form the EU, it is cheaper than in Spain to have internet connection.

As we can see in figure 1, in 2018 Spain obtained 74 points in the affordability ranking, rated between 0 points (less affordable) and 100 (more affordable). However, the average of the EU countries is 87 points. The only countries that are behind Spain are Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Slovenia.

     Figure 1: Affordability ranking. Source: DESI.

Also, if we take a closer look to the packs that include mobile and fixed telephony, mobile and fixed broadband and sometimes TV, which are the most consumed in Spain, we see that they are the second most expensive in Europe, just above Belgium (61 € per month). In Spain they cost approximately 56 €, 15 euros more than the European average which is 41 €. In France, in the other hand, they cost almost the half, around 23 €.
A positive new, however, is that the price of mobile internet connection is getting cheaper every year. In 2017, the price went from 39 € to 21 (the European average was 24).
Beside checking the affordability of the broad band, the DESI also measures every year the establishment of the information and communication technologies in the countries of the EU, to check in which level do they take part in their citizens’ daily life, in their companies and in their administrations.
The European Commission concluded that in 2017 Spain stepped ahead in the quality of its information society, but not enough to exit the group of intermediate countries. It obtained the 10th place of the Rate of Digitalization of the EU.
Spain is above the average of Europe when considering issues like the 4G coverage, the implementation of the mobile broadband and the coverage of new generation broadband. However, it is below the average when it comes to aspects such as the implementation of fast broadband and the coverage of superfast broadband.
Moreover, taking into consideration human abilities regarding digitalization, Spain is still in the 14th place. This is due to the percentage of the population that has basic digital competences which include, among others, creating an email account or downloading apps in the cell phone.
Also, even though Spain is above the European average of graduated students in scientific and technological degrees, the working market doesn’t reflect it. From 1.000 students between 20 and 29 years, 21,6 of them have a degree in science or technology. However, only a 3% of them work as specialists in ICTs.
The use of internet services also locates Spain under the European average. Nevertheless, it has some strong points like the use of the net for leisure purposes, video on demand, videophone calls, social networks, bank services and ecommerce.

Figure 2: Netflix, the most used platform of video on demand. Source: Clàudia Llena.

Moreover, when it comes to the average of people who have used the Internet to be updated with the news, Spain obtained around a 77%, which is over the average of the EU, 72%.

Figure 3: The digital version of La Vanguardia. Source: Clàudia Llena.

After the DESI was published (May 2018), members of the Spanish Industry, Trade and Tourism, claimed that the categories used to elaborate the rate aren’t representative of the Internet demand in Spain. Among the offer of connectivity products in the Spanish market, the top sold are the offers of packages which include mobile and fixed telephony, mobile and fixed broadband and sometimes TV. This offers represent more than the 80,3 % of the market, according to the Spanish National Commission of Markets and Competence, and it wasn’t considered in the DESI study.
When it comes to the coverage of fixed new generation broadband, Spain obtained good results in the study. The 85% of homes have access to high-speed broadband capable of offering a minimum of 30 Mbps. However, Brussels warned that there are significant differences between autonomous communities and between urban and rural areas.
However, in order to mitigate the imbalance in the rural areas of Spain, derived from the depopulation, the Spanish Government has set itself the goal to cut down the breach in the telecommunications field, ensuring a coverage of high speed broadband and mobile telephony all around the territory.
In 2010 the people responsible of Telecommunication in the EU, promised to reach this goal in 2020 according to the European Digital Agenda, but there is still a long way to run. Many people consider the universal establishment of 30 Internet megas as a false illusion as it is usually really difficult to have a minimal cell phone signal in isolated and mountainous areas.

To know more:

-The Optical Fiber in Spain. According to the report from 2017 of the Spanish Digital Society, it is especially remarkable the growth of the optical fiber implantation in the territory during the period of time between 2015-2016, which represented a 56,6%. During this period of time, Spain was the 7th country of the OECD (Organization for the Economic Co-operation and Development) with the highest ratio of optical fiber subscriptions of the total amount of subscriptions of fixed broadband, with a percentage of 35%.

-The mobile broadband in Spain. Also, according to the report, Spain is still a worldwide leader when measuring the penetration of mobile broadband. At the end of 2016, Spain was the 15th country in the ranking of mobile broadband implementation among the OECD country members, with 89,2 lines per 100 inhabitants, only behind countries like Japan (152,4), Finland (146,9), Australia (128,8) or USA (126,3).
When speaking of technological platforms of mobile broadband, the one that has a bigger coverage in Spain is still the 3,5G mobile access broadband (UMTS with HSPA). In fact, it reaches almost every Spanish home, with a 99,7% of coverage, as we see in figure 4.

Figure 4:  The provincial coverage of UMTS with HSPA in Spain (2017).
Source: Ministerio de Economia y Empresa. Gobierno de España.

On the other hand, if we consider the nets LTE, the 4G coverage reached is already 94,4%, which represent an increase of 3,9 points regarding the data obtained at the beginning of 2016. As we see in the figure 5 the only province with less than a 75% of coverage is Teruel, with a 71%.

Figure 5: The provincial coverage of LTE in Spain (2017)
Source: Ministerio de Economia y Empresa. Gobierno de España.

-Fiber To The House (FTTH). Related to the broadband, the optical fiber to the house is the technological platform which has grown the most. In fact, during the second semester of the year, 62,8% of the Spanish homes already had FTTH, which represented an increase of 7,2 percent regarding the numbers obtained at the begging of that year. However, as we can see in figure 6, the coverage of FTTH is uneven among the territory. It is only widely spread in the richest provinces such as Barcelona, Madrid or the Balearic Islands.

Figure 6: The provincial coverage of FTTH in Spain (2017)
Source: Ministerio de Economia y Empresa. Gobierno de España.

We analyze international broadband evolution (here, the Spanish case) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLE,  Escola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), Google+, in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (31 March-1 April 2020, Barcelona).

10 comentarios:

  1. Article molt instructiu sobre la banda ampla a Espanya en el context europeu.

  2. It is true that access to Internet in Spain is pretty expensive. So glad it is getting cheaper every year!


  3. És bo saber que cada any està baixant el preu d'accessibilitat a la banda ampla, i que en un futur pugui baixar el preu dels paquets que suposen més del 80% del mercat (com per exemple els que inclueixen telefonia mòbil i fixa) que has mencionat i que es torni més ràpida la cobertura de banda ampla. També estaria be que l'accés fos menys diferenciat entre zones urbanes i rurals.

    Molt interessant saber més sobre aquests temes que es afecten!

    Laura Trescasas