Broadband and telecom

Broadband Methodology


Subscriptions ¦ Price Collection

Go to OECD broadband statistics

OECD Broadband Subscriptions Criteria (2015)


  • All data are supplied by member governments unless otherwise noted. Data are provided to member governments for verification before publication.

  • All statistical country comparisons should be undertaken with caution and this advice similarly applies to broadband statistics. There is a breadth of market, regulatory and geographic factors which help determine penetration rates, prices, and speeds. Therefore, it is important that policy makers examine a wide range of broadband indicators when considering key policy decisions.

  • Broadband subscription penetration rankings tell nothing of the prices that users pay, the advertised speeds of connections, or whether there are restrictive bit/data caps on those lines. Countries doing well in one measure may be weaker in another.

  • It is inappropriate to use small movements within statistics such as the broadband rankings to justify policy success or lack thereof. Small movements in rankings can be the result of improved population estimates, more reliable data sources or seasonal adjustments.

  • Comparisons should therefore focus on why some countries are at the end, middle or near the top of one or more indicators. Another valid comparison would be highlighting countries which seem to exhibit a trend over an extended period of time. 

  • Population data used to calculate "per 100 inhabitants" figures are from the OECD statistical database and reflect the official population data from the previous year. The population data are updated to reflect the current year as soon as they are available.

  • The collection of fibre subscriptions is relatively new and a number of countries do not yet have data available for analysis. A value of "0" is inserted for calculations if no reliable estimation is available.


Fixed broadband penetration indicator


  • Includes all DSL lines offering Internet connectivity which are capable of download speeds of at least 256 kbit/s
  • Excludes DSL lines of not used for Internet connectivity (e.g. leased lines)
  • Includes all fiber-to-the-cabinet lines


  • Includes all cable modem subscriptions at download speeds greater than 256 kbit/s


  • Includes all fibre-to-the-premises (e.g. house, apartment) subscriptions at download speeds greater than 256 kbit/s
  • Includes all fibre-to-the-building subscriptions (e.g. Apartment LAN) using fibre-to-the-building but Ethernet to end users. NOTE: This counts only the number of actual subscriptions to the provider, not end users.
  • Excludes all fiber-to-the-cabinet subscriptions


  • Subscriptions with advertised download speeds of at least 256 kbit/s

Terrestrial fixed wireless:

  • Subscriptions with advertised download speeds of at least 256 kbit/s

Other wired:

  • BPL: Includes all broadband over powerline subscriptions with download speeds greater than 256 kbit/s
  • Leased lines: Includes only circuits with Internet connectivity (only connections with speeds faster than 256 kbit/s to end users)

Mobile broadband penetration indicator

  • Data and voice subscriptions (only included with active use): Includes mobile subscriptions which advertise data speeds of 256 kbit/s or greater and which have been used to make an Internet data connection via IP in the previous 3 months. To be counted, the subscription must allow access to the greater Internet via HTTP and must have been used to make a data connection using the Internet Protocol in the previous three months. Standard SMS and MMS messaging do not count as an active Internet data connection even if they are delivered via IP. Add-on data packages to voice services which requires an additional subscription are included in this sub-category. 

  • Data-only subscriptions: Subscriptions to dedicated data services over a mobile network which are purchased separately from voice services either as a stand-alone service (modem/dongle) or as an add-on data package to voice services which requires an additional subscription. All dedicated mobile data subscriptions with recurring subscription fees are included as “active data subscriptions” regardless of actual use. Pre-paid mobile broadband plans require active use if there is no monthly subscription. Add-on data packages to voice services which requires an additional subscription are not included in this sub-category. Wi-Fi, except for the rare cases when Wi-Fi is used as the transport technology for a fixed wireless Internet service provider. The lines supporting Wi-Fi hotspots are already counted once in the fixed-broadband subscriptions methodology.



OECD Broadband Price Collections Criteria

See the new complete methodology (PDF format) : Revised OECD Telecommunication price baskets (Dec. 2017)


Data gathering

  • A set of three operators per country has been chosen for comparison: the incumbent telecommunications operator, the largest cable provider (if there is cable coverage) and one alternative provider, if available, over DSL, cable or fibre.
  • Offers must be advertised clearly on the operator's website
  • All DSL, cable and fibre offers are recorded, but not used in calculations if speeds are lower than 256 kbits.
  • Offers are for month to month service
  • Offers should be available in the country's largest city – or in the largest regional city for firms with only regional coverage. 



  • Speeds are those advertised by operators and likely do not correspond to typical throughput.
  • Some maximum speeds have been imputed when not explicitly stated based on technological limits of the installed technologies (e.g. New Zealand’s ADSL speeds).



  • Voice subscription charges: Prices include PSTN line rental charges when they can be separated out, if subscribers are required to have a PSTN line to subscribe to DSL (these prices are designated as “with line charge”). This also applies to offers where cable television service cannot be disaggregated, including cable and fibre-based services. Some offers do include phone and television service (triple-play) which cannot be disaggregated.
  • Prices which do not include PSTN line/cable television rental charge are also presented. These are designated as “no line charge”, and provide an alternative way to compare prices. As both sets of prices provide valuable information, both have been included in the comparison.
  • Modem rental: Prices include modem rental charges (when priced separately)
  • Term commitments: Prices do not include discounts for some longer-term commitments. In some countries, operators offer significant discounts to subscribers who commit for long periods. These longer-term subscribers can often comprise a large majority of all broadband subscribers in a country (e.g. in Korea it is possible to benefit from further discounts for commitments over 24 months). Only commitments of 24 months or less are included.
  • Free calling: Some plans offer a number of included phone calls as part of the broadband plan. If simple Internet access prices cannot be disaggregated then the calls are included in the price.
  • Preselection requirements: Prices do not include discounts for also choosing certain calling plans or preselection.
  • If a plan requires a certain amount of phone use (charges) per month then these are added into the basic Internet access price.
  • The pricing information is presented in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, but is also available in USD exchange rates within the same Excel file.


Bit caps

  • Bit caps are given in megabytes per month
  • Bit caps are for all domestic and international traffic. However, in cases where national and international traffic are capped differently the bit caps are for international traffic.
  • Costs for additional traffic are given in price per additional megabyte.
  • When operators offer additional monthly traffic in different bundles the price reflects the lowest price per MB across offers.
  • Some operators have maximum excess charges per month which limits the total possible monthly cost of the connection.
  • When prices per additional megabyte are on a graduated scale the average of all prices is used.
  • Prices and bit cap measures do not take into account bandwidth offered during "happy hours".