'

Broadband Britain to overtake dial-up

Brief: High-speed Internet access is well on the way to becoming standard in the UK

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that broadband is poised to overtake dial-up as the most popular way of accessing the Internet in the UK.

The ONS reported on Monday that, in April 2005, 49.2 percent of UK Web users were surfing over a high-speed connection, versus 50.8 percent using dial-up. A year before, broadband represented just 28.5 percent of the market.

Britain has enjoyed a protracted broadband boom, fuelled by lower prices and greater availability. Today, it is possible to get a capped broadband connection for under £20 a month, a far cry from the £50 or more a month that was charged for a broadband connection in 2001.

The rising popularity of broadband has important ramifications for companies that do business online. They can offer more data-rich Web sites without the danger that visitors will abandon them because they download too slowly, and can also consider making greater use of video.