Belgium at bottom of European connectivity ranking due to slow 5G and fibre rollout

Of all European countries, Belgium scores worst in terms of connectivity in the European Commission's digital ranking (DESI). Yet the quality of fixed and mobile telecoms networks in Belgium is "good to very good", regulator BIPT concluded in a study published Wednesday.

In the DESI rankings, Belgium ranks 27th and last in terms of connectivity. It is lagging behind other European countries in the rollout of superfast mobile 5G networks and optical fibre for broadband connections. BIPT makes the case that Belgium's score will improve "significantly in the future as planned investments in 5G, fibre optics and state-of-the-art cable technologies come into effect", such as the 5G pilot projects that were revealed on Tuesday.

"Fixed network coverage in Belgium is good to very good. For example, 99.2 per cent of Belgians have access to a download speed of 30 megabits per second and 97.2 per cent to 100 megabits per second," BIPT concluded. As for mobile coverage, Belgium has "very high-quality 4G coverage." "Thus, 99.9 per cent of Belgian households enjoy good indoor coverage," the report reads.

For both fixed and mobile internet, the differences between North and South are large: speeds are generally higher in Flanders and Brussels. Wallonia is more sparsely populated and "economically less interesting" for operators.



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