UK on brink of broadband milestone

Britain may have been slow to embrace broadband, but the recent boom means that the one millionth broadband customer is just round the corner

Britain's telecommunications industry is very close to signing up its one-millionth broadband customer -- an important milestone in the creation of Broadband Britain.

An official announcement is expected this week, and the event is likely to be hailed by both government and telcos as proof that broadband is thriving in the UK. It is less than six months since Britain reached 500,000 broadband users.

An Oftel spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Monday that Britain will soon have one million broadband subscribers. "We're approaching one million broadband users. It should happen pretty soon, but we're not sure exactly when," she said.

Sources indicate, though, that the landmark could be imminent.

The Department of Trade and Industry -- the government department most involved with the UK's broadband industry -- wouldn't confirm when the one-millionth customer would sign up, but did say they were optimistic about the state of Britain's broadband market.

"We're encouraged by the speed of take-up," said a DTI spokeswoman.

Around 20,000 people are thought to be signing up for broadband each week, either from a cable firm or an ISP that is reselling BT's broadband product.

This is a massive improvement on last year and follows several advertising campaigns and price cuts, of which the most significant was probably BT's decision to halve the cost of its wholesale ADSL.

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