Oftel - consumers hungry for new broadband services

Good news for tech companies: Oftel says Brits like fancy telecoms kit and services.

UK consumer demand for next-generation telecom services continues to grow, according to an Oftel report published Thursday.

The report found that Internet and mobile phone use is on the increase here, and consumers want more advanced telecom services. The telecoms watchdog said upcoming changes in the UK's numbering system would ensure it was ready to cope with the demand.

Home Internet use has more than doubled since 1997, up from seven percent to 18 percent. One in ten of those questioned by Oftel said they intended to be online within the next six months. Thirty-seven percent of those asked own a mobile phone. One in ten said they intended to own a mobile within the next six months.

Over a third of consumers said they would be interested in broadband services such as video on demand, Web TV or fast Internet access, prompting an Oftel spokesman to comment: "As near as dammit [consumers] had an equal desire for all three services."

Oftel said its new numbering system would create nine billion telephone numbers, enough for the "foreseeable future".

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