Broadband booms as dial-up declines

While the take-up of high-speed, always-on Internet connections soared last year, latest government data suggests dial-up's best days are behind it

Official figures released this week illustrate the massive boom in broadband take-up that took place in 2002, and also show that dial-up use is slowly declining.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS), in its latest study of Internet connectivity, has calculated that the number of "permanent" Internet subscriptions rose by 272 percent between November 2001 and November 2002 -- the latest period for which the ONS has data.

Over the same period, dial-up connections -- covering both pay-as-you-go and unmetered narrowband products -- rose by 1.66 percent, as the total number of Internet subscribers rose by 9 percent.

But the ONS figures also show that in November 2002 the dial-up market has actually declined by some 3.6 percent from a peak in March 2002, as people migrate to broadband.

Permanent connections, which covers both cable broadband and ADSL, now make up 9.31 percent of the whole UK Internet access market, according to the ONS.

The ONS did not release details of the number of people actually accessing the Internet in these various ways. However, according to Oftel there were 1,135,000 broadband users in the UK at the start of November 2002, out of a total online population of 11 million consumers and 2.5 million small businesses.

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