Broadband Britain moves slowly forward

The number of UK surfers opting for always-on, high-speed Internet connections is increasing, indicating that recent price cuts may be having an effect

A fall in the price of broadband has led to a slight month-on-month increase in the number of UK households and businesses connected to the Internet, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

There was a 1.2 per cent increase from June to July, the biggest rise since February. Dial-up connections still represent the lion's share of the total, but there are signs that the recent broadband advertising campaigns and accompanying price-cutting measures from the ISPs are having an effect, as permanent connections continued to increase their share.

They made up 6.5 per cent of the connections in July, up from 5.9 per cent in June.

E-commerce minister Stephen Timms commented: "Today's figures show that still more and more people are getting online. And even better news is that broadband connections are taking off -- increasing at over 11 per cent a month. The UK now enjoys some of Europe's lowest prices showing that strong competition is succeeding in driving broadband across the nation."

The news comes hot on the heels of the publication of a major report into the future of TV in the UK, in which Reed Hundt, the former head of the FCC (the US equivalent of Ofcom), said he believes the UK government should subsidise the rollout of broadband.

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