Broadband and mobile prices fall, EU says

Broadband and mobile use is up, while the prices of these services have significantly declined, according to a study released by the European Commission.

Consumers paid less for their broadband subscriptions last year than the year before, the report said, with the number of subscriptions jumping by 24 per cent. The study showed the average monthly price of broadband access with download speeds between one and two megabytes per second fell 19 per cent from 38.2 per month in 2007 to 31 in 2008.

"European users now enjoy higher broadband speeds at lower prices tanks to more competition in the broadband market," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

In the UK as of December 2007, 99.6 per cent of the population is covered by DSL, with just over 12.1 million subscribers. DSL subscriptions increased in 2007 from 17 per cent to 20 per cent with more than half of households in the UK subscribing to a broadband service.

Europe leads the world in mobile phone services, with subscriptions in 2008 at 119 per cent, much higher than the US at 87 per cent and Japan at 84 per cent.

Despite the economic crisis, the EU's telecoms sector continued to grow in 2008, with totals estimated at approximately 300 billion, up 1.3 per cent from 2007.

Reding added: "This is good news for a sector that can help Europe defy the downturn."