Oftel confirms 500,000 broadband mark

Broadband take-up in the UK is booming, Oftel has confirmed, with over 20,000 new customers signing up each week

Oftel announced on Thursday that there are now more than 500,000 UK home broadband users, as first reported on ZDNet News last week.

Over 20,000 people are signing up for broadband each week. The government claimed the announcement as an important step on the road to creating its vision of a "Broadband Britain".

According to the latest figures from broabdand providers such as BT, ntl, Telewest and Kingston, there are at least 539,000 broadband end-users in the UK. There are 328,000 cable broadband users, while 200,000 people have signed up for broadband from an Internet Service Provider that users BT Wholesale's ADSL product. Kingston, which offers an ADSL-based service in East Yorkshire, has 11,000 broadband customers.

In a statement, e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander said that he welcomed that fact that broadband take-up was accelerating.

"The milestone of half a million connections represents a 54 percent increase since the beginning of 2002. Of course there is more to do, but the work of building Broadband Britain is underway. BT's commitment to broadband and their recent price reductions, together with the successful cable broadband programmes of ntl and Telewest pave the way for further advances on broadband during 2002," said Alexander.

David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications, said that with over 20,000 new customers signing up for broadband each week, the current level of growth outstripped the equivalent demand for mobile phones and dial-up Internet access when they were first introduced.

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