Internet TV drives broadband uptake

Huge growth in broadband is paving the way for IPTV services, according to Point Topic

The number of UK broadband households has almost doubled in the past year, with another three million households now switched on to DSL.

As of the end of September, the UK had 6,381,000 DSL connections — a growth of 91 per cent in one year.

The UK is the seventh ranked country by total DSL subscribers, and is 10th in terms of market penetration, with 18 per cent of all phone lines delivering DSL services. More than 125 million homes and businesses worldwide are now hooked up to DSL.

But this growth is dwarfed by China, the country with the most DSL subscribers, which added almost 10 million DSL subscribers and is rapidly approaching 25 million in total. The US is in second place, followed by Japan.

Almost 40 million people worldwide signed up for DSL broadband access in the 12 months to 30 September 2005, according to the figures produced for the DSL Forum by industry analyst house Point Topic.

More than 125 million homes and businesses worldwide are now hooked up to DSL, and the analyst estimates this will reach 140 million by the end of the year.

European Union countries accounted for close to 40 per cent of the total growth in new broadband DSL subscribers in the period, confirming the EU's position as the number one most active DSL region worldwide.

Widespread broadband is encouraging the development of new applications such as IP TV, said Tim Johnson of Point Topic. For example, 1.3 million people in the UK spend five hours per week reviewing TV on the Internet, he said.

Johnson said in a statement: "All major telcos are now committed to providing IPTV services, and while it is not yet a 'killer application', take-up is accelerating.

"IPTV has the potential to develop into an entirely new medium because of its ability to integrate many different media and provide user-friendly interactivity."

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