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No room for broadband complacency

High-speed internet available to three-quarters of the UK - which means there's still a long way to go…
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

High-speed internet available to three-quarters of the UK - which means there's still a long way to go…

Ecommerce minister Stephen Timms was out in Italy this week at the Informal Broadband Council boasting that broadband services are now available to 75 per cent of the UK population. He was citing figures from Analysys which reveal that at the end of July over 2.3 million people in the UK had signed up for a broadband connection. And it would seem that with some broadband providers such as Freedom2Surf and Pipex looking to offer 1Mbps services for under £30 a month to the consumer market, that the UK is on the way to achieving the government's target of making it the most extensive and competitive broadband market out of the G7 group of industrialised nations by the end of 2005. The government should be applauded for the moves it has made in advancing the broadband market in the UK from the sorry position it was in a couple of years ago but the figures also show that a quarter of the population still don't have access to a high-speed internet connection. Research last month from the Office of National Statistics shows that while the number of UK broadband subscribers has risen by 170 per cent over the previous year, the amount of users accessing the web via broadband still makes up just 16.8 per cent of total subscriptions. And it's not only a rural minority complaining about a lack of broadband access. Our own silicon.com broadband survey found a large number of readers in towns and cities across the UK who are often just a few frustrating metres out of range of a broadband-enabled exchange. So it's a tentative pat on the back for the government so far but a lot of work still needs to be done and Timms himself admitted at the conference that "we are in no position to be complacent".
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