Swedish broadband slips behind

Sweden, which once boasted one of the highest rate of broadband uptake in Europe, has now fallen behind most other countries in northern Europe in terms of the proportion of households subscribing to fast Internet services.

Some 43 percent of Swedish households subscribe to broadband, compared to 58 percent of households in the Netherlands, the survey from international analysts Strategy Analytics shows.

Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Belgium also have higher levels of broadband penetration than Sweden.

Sweden has failed to capitalize on an early lead in fast Internet connections. A survey from NetValue 2001 was one of many to name Sweden as the country with the highest broadband penetration in Europe.

Martin Olausson, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said competitive markets were the key.

“Most of the leading countries have been moving quickly because of more competition. This is true of the Netherlands, which has also benefited from the fact that 90 percent of households have cable television. In Sweden, only 50 percent of households do.”

Sweden’s geography has also made it harder to provide broadband to large portions of the population.

“Other countries are smaller, so it’s easier to build out broadband.”

But Sweden could start moving up the rankings again soon.

“Going forward, we think Sweden will be one of the winners, because Swedes have shown that they are willing to take up technology,” Olausson said.

“Telenor’s acquisition of Bredbandsbolaget, Glocalnet and Vodafone Sweden means that we have two big, powerful incumbents in Sweden – Telia and Telenor.”

“Competition between these two, plus Com Hem, will help push broadband penetration forward.”


France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

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Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

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