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Broadband Britain booms with two million home users

Adoption of broadband is speeding up, taking only seven months to rack up the latest million subscribers, but the UK still lags in some areas
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

As earlier reported by ZDNet UK, Britain recently reached two million broadband subscribers, about seven months after reaching one million. In contrast, it took two years to accumulate the first million broadband users, according to the telecoms regulator. New connections are running at about 35,000 a week.

"Oftel research shows that many broadband connections are people upgrading from narrowband, as they recognise the benefits of fast, always on Internet access," said David Edmonds, Oftel's Director General of Telecommunications, in a statement.

Subscriber levels are based on information from network operators, and include connections at speeds of 128Kbps and above. Services below 500Kbps are not, however, included when the regulator is assessing market dominance. This position has been criticised by operators with higher-speed offerings, who argue it makes the market's competitiveness appear less balanced than it really is.

ADSL and cable modems have roughly half of the broadband market under government figures released earlier this week, but the position changes if cable operator NTL's 128Kbps/150Kbps users are subtracted.

A new report by research group Analysys has found that the UK now boasts the third most competitive broadband market of all the G7 industrialised nations, e-commerce minister Stephen Timms told the Westminster Media Forum on Tuesday.

However, the rosy subscriber numbers do not tell the whole story, as Britain still languishes in 5th place when it comes to extensiveness -- a measurement of how widely available broadband is. A DTI spokeswoman told ZDNet UK News on Wednesday that the UK came "very, very close" to overtaking the fourth-placed US on extensiveness.

ZDNet UK's Graeme Wearden contributed to this report.

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