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Broadband Britain sees costs fall as speeds rise

Fat pipes are cheaper and faster than ever, with average broadband costs falling 36 percent in the past four years
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Broadband Britain has never had it so good with fat pipes cheaper and faster than ever.

Average broadband costs have dropped 36 percent in the past four years, according to price-comparison site uSwitch.

Back in 2004, customers could expect to pay an average of £27 per month for a less-than-fat 0.5Mbps connection. Now the majority have signed up to packages with speeds of up to 8Mbps at an average monthly cost of just £17.

The most expensive standalone 8Mbps package is currently offered by Orange at £20 per month, while the cheapest is Plusnet's £10-a-month ticket.

When it comes to connection speeds, cable broadband provider Virgin Media's planned 50Mbps rollout &mash; set to be available to some nine million homes by the end of the year — is keeping it at the head of the field (its current top speed offering is 20Mbps).

But other companies are also looking at boosting the UK's fat pipes by laying fibre cabling in sewers, which could realise connection speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Nearly 15 million households in the UK are spending a total of more than £3bn on broadband, according to uSwitch.

Broadband analyst Point Topic estimates broadband penetration will hit 19 million households by 2012, or 74 percent of the country.

The analyst said the UK's telecoms landscape is set for "enormous change", with the rollout of BT's 21CN all-IP next-gen network this year.

21CN, which is due to reach almost 10 million Brits by the end of 2008 provided it doesn't slip behind schedule, will give a boost to broadband services by enabling cheaper and more flexible offerings, said Point Topic.

A recent O2 Broadband survey found slow connection speeds top the list of frustrations for the UK's fat pipe consumers.

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