Com Hem joins Sweden's 500Mbps broadband club

Summary:Superfast broadband is quickly becoming more widespread in Sweden with several 500Mbps services available from around €100 per month.

Com Hem is the latest Swedish operator to quench the nation's thirst for speed with a new broadband service offering a downlink of up to 500Mbps.

The new high-speed service, launched on Wednesday, is available to over one million subscribers on Com Hem's HFC (hybrid fibre-coaxial) network, costing 899 SEK (€103) per month on a one-year contract. Advertised upload speeds range between 30Mbps and 50Mbps.

Com Hem has connected 1.78 million households to its HFC network and is Sweden's fourth largest fixed line broadband operator behind Telia, Tele2 and Telenor.

With 613,000 digital TV subscriptions in the first quarter of this year, Com Hem is also Sweden's largest cable operator, but unlike its rivals, it lacks a mobile network to cater to consumers' growing consumption of mobile data.

4G subscriptions — offered by Telia, Tele2, Telenor and 3 Sweden — grew 800 percent between 2011 and 2012, from 30,000 to 240,000, according to the latest figures from the Swedish Post and Telecoms Authority (PTS).

Com Hem's 500Mbps offerings comes as a new class of home broadband is emerging in Sweden in the 1Gbps and above range. However, subscribers are yet to warm to this higher tier of products: according to PTS data, there were roughly 1,000 subscriptions in 2012 on 1Gbps or above. 

Telia and Tele2 offer services with connections of between 500Mbps and 1Gbps for 999 SEK (€115) per month and 799 SEK (€72) per month respectively.  

According to the PTS, fixed broadband subscriptions with speeds of 100Mbps or more grew 41 percent between 2011 and 2012 to 755,000, meaning that roughly 16 percent of Sweden's 4.5 million households already well exceeding the 30Mbps the European Commission has stipulated the continent's citizens should have by 2020, under its Digital Agenda plan.

However, Sweden is a fair way off having all its citizens signed up to Digital Agenda-level broadband: there were 1.2 million households (around 26 percent) on subscriptions between 10Mbps to 30Mbps, while around 20 percent of the nation are still on connections with speeds of between 2Mbps and 10Mbps.

At the higher end of the spectrum, however, Sweden is well ahead of the UK where just 0.1 percent of subscriptions exceeded 100Mbps

Sweden also had around one million fibre broadband subscriptions, up 16 percent year on year, with 60 percent of those on 100Mbps or over, according to PTS. 

Sweden's fixed line broadband market by speed in 2012
Sweden's fixed line broadband market by speed in 2012. Image: PTS

Topics: Broadband, EU, Fiber

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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