Equipping every home and business in the European Union (EU) with super-fast broadband could cost just £69 billion, it has been claimed.
According to a new report from Point Topic, this is significantly less than previous estimates - with past research suggesting the cost could be as high as £228 billion.
Two-thirds of the £69 billion would be required to deploy super-fast broadband in low-density areas, the analyst said.
The European Commission has set a target of universal 30Mb broadband coverage by the end of the decade, with 50 per cent of homes having access to 100Mb download speeds.
However, Point Topic notes that the investment required to achieve these targets is controversial.
“Eighty billion euros is still a lot of money, but we think our figure is more accurate than earlier ones,” commented Tim Johnson, lead author of the report.
“It’s more realistic and should be more acceptable.”
Point Topic said “several factors” combine to make this latest estimate lower than previous ones.
It recognises that super-fast broadband does not have to be delivered via full-fibre networks, with cable and VDSL technology also capable of achieving this goal.
The analyst explained that VDSL is much cheaper to provide than fibre-to-the-home technology, providing that a good telephone network is already in place.
Point Topic’s estimate also assumes that super-fast investment will be capped at an average of £1,691 per home.
“Most of that amount will have to be funded by the taxpayer in one way or another,” said Mr Johnson.
“We think that’s about as much as they will stand for. But we think that a large proportion of rural Europe will get wired up on that basis.”