Cable: a major actor in the European digital landscape


Cable EuropeI think it must be the mathematician in me that finds a linear equation so appealing.  The simplicity and clarity of an “x+y=z”.   It’s not always a given in policy and politics, when we’re as often dealing with nuance and opinion as with a nice clean cause-and-effect scenario.

So I find the latest data from Arthur D. Little like a breath of fresh air as we all jostle for position in deciding how best to deliver a digital Europe.  As well as showing that cable is a major actor in the European digital landscape, the data also gives us a solid set of signals which points the way to the future of very high capacity networks.

The “x+y=z” goes like this.  Cable operators reach more than half of European households, with their services available to 55% of homes.  Then add this fact about Next Generation Access (services which exceed 30 Mbps): cable is the largest provider of Next Generation Access services across Europe.  49% of all NGA subscriptions in Europe are to cable, and are capable of delivering speeds up to 500Mbps.

This NGA piece is relevant for the short term European policy goals.  Whilst the Commission has set out targets for very high capacity networks stretching to 2025, the original 2020 NGA milestones are still in place and frankly need to be hit with ease if we’re to reach with ambition into the decade beyond.  Cable singlehandedly takes us half way there already.

But it’s around the 2025 very high capacity targets that my beautifully simple linear equation comes into its own.   Today’s NGA cable can – and will – be incrementally upgraded to reach Gigasphere capabilities, and this is planned well within the 2025 vision set out by the policy makers.

There it is.  Cable reaches over half of European households.  This footprint offers the single largest NGA network in Europe.  This NGA network will be upgraded to a very high capacity network.  Therefore, thanks to cable, half of all European households will have access to Gigabit services well before the 2025 targets.

Cable is the principle technology most able to connect a large base of the population with very high capacity services, and it’s already begun to do so.  Beautifully simple, isn’t it?


Matthias Kurth
Executive Chairman,
Cable Europe

November 2016