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UK trails Europe in broadband uptake

Despite attempts by BT and other ISPs to get Britain surfing at high-speed, the rate of broadband connections is still behind that of other European countries
Written by Graham Hayday, Contributor

The number of households with broadband Internet connections in the UK is lower than any other country in Europe, according to the latest research from Nielsen//NetRatings.

Only 9 percent of UK households have a high-speed connection to the Net, compared to 39 per cent in Germany and 33 per cent in Sweden. Even France, which has a far lower overall level of Net penetration, has a higher percentage of households using broadband.

Tom Ewing, Internet analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, said in a statement: "This time last year 5 percent of British surfers were using a high-speed Internet connection.

"What we're seeing here is an improvement, but not much of one. Broadband is growing in this country but the government's stated target of being the G7 leader in broadband connectivity by 2005 is absurd if you set it against current rates of growth."

He added: "This summer we did see a lot of aggressive marketing of broadband, and there are signs that the uptake is rising, but it'll take more than just advertising to catch up with markets like Germany."

BT Wholesale has kicked off a multi-million pound marketing campaign designed to increase interest in its broadband registration scheme. At the start of July BT initiated a programme to allow would-be broadband customers in areas not ADSL-enabled to register their interest in receiving the service -- a programme which has nevertheless been beset by controversy.

The company has reported that 13 percent of orders in mid-July were directly attributable to these marketing activities, amounting to around 1,560 customers per week. As a result, 18,500 customers have already been connected and the company expects the figure to reach around 40,000.

The Nielsen//NetRatings figures are in line with research released last week by analyst firm Point Topic, which revealed that the UK doesn't even figure in the top 20 countries worldwide when it comes to high-speed DSL Net connections. Of the 26 million connections around the world, the UK has around 300,000.

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