The number of broadband connections grew by 92 per cent in Europe last year, and one in three homes will have high-speed web access by 2008, according to analysts.
"Europe's broadband riches will be unevenly split along a clear north/south divide, with 2008 penetration varying from five per cent in Greece to 45 per cent in Norway," said Lars Godell, senior analyst at Forrester Research.
But the analyst warned that high broadband prices are hurting UK take-up. With a price premium of 74 per cent over that of dial-up connections, UK broadband ISPs only managed to convert 13 per cent of dial-up users in 2002.
Forrester predicts that increased competition and better product bundles will drive broadband from 0.2 per cent of UK households in 2000 to 35 per cent in 2008.
In contrast, high internet penetration and low cost broadband will drive Scandinavia and The Netherlands beyond 40 per cent penetration in the same period.
"Scandinavia and The Netherlands will dominate the ratings. German-speaking Europe, Belgium, Finland and the UK will form a second tier, and southern Europe and Ireland will continue to lag," said Godell.
Forrester also indicated that ADSL will be the dominant platform because it reaches at least twice as many households as cable.
ADSL also has the advantage that its main backers - the incumbent telcos - benefit from superior financial positions, scale, scope and brand strength.
In 2008, ADSL will claim 71 per cent of European broadband connections, dwarfing the alternatives.
"Cash shortages will kill cable's momentum," explained Godell. "The business case for fibre remains daunting, and alternative technologies like fixed wireless and two-way satellite are too little, too late."
The analyst suggested that, without big investment, cable's 36 per cent coverage will never be able to match ADSL's 80 per cent plus.
And with cable companies short of cash, cable's market share will drop from 53 per cent in 2000 to 22 per cent in 2008, according to Forrester.
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