Number of UK broadband users has reached 3M, according to telecom regulator Oftel

December 10, 2003

2 Min Read

LONDON -- The number of UK households and small businesses connecting to the Internet via a broadband connection has passed the 3 million milestone according to research published today by the UK telecommunications regulator Oftel.

Broadband adoption rates are now running at record levels and ahead of previous predictions, with more than 40,000 households and businesses a week installing an always-on Internet connection offering download speeds of between 128 kbit/s and 2 mbit/s, depending on supplier.

The Director General of Oftel, David Edmonds, said: "Broadband is one of the fastest-growing new technologies in recent years. It is transforming the way consumers and businesses use the Internet, and is now becoming an important market in its own right."

"In the last five years the Internet has moved from the margins to the mass-market, with half of all UK households and two-thirds of businesses now online. That shift - with some of the lowest prices in the world - was significantly boosted by Oftel's intervention to bring about flat-rate narrowband access."

"Broadband adoption rates are now accelerating in a similar manner. Consumers are seeing the benefit of Oftel's action to promote competition, both at the network level and in the supply of services. Effective regulatory interventions have both reinforced infrastructure competition and created the most competitive marketplace for broadband services in Europe."

"With Oftel's powers being transferred to Ofcom on 29 December, Oftel brings to an end its role as the UK's telecommunications regulator with a just claim to have played a major part in the creation of Broadband Britain."

Highlights include:

  • Half of UK households and two-thirds of UK businesses are now online

  • One in five of all UK homes with Internet access now have a broadband connection

  • The number of broadband households has more than doubled in the last year

  • Take-up rates for ADSL connections continue to exceed cable modem connections by a factor of 3 to 1

  • Typical UK broadband retail prices are significantly cheaper than both the US and Germany

    E-commerce Minister Stephen Timms added:

    "We have reached the 3 million figure earlier than expected and this is great news for the broadband market. The UK was a slow starter but real progress is now being made."

    "The efforts of Oftel and the Government to encourage competition are bearing fruit and today's announcement is a clear validation of our target to have the most competitive and extensive broadband market in the G7 by 2005.

    "3 million households and small businesses subscribing to broadband is a real achievement. I now look forward to building on this momentum and seeing that take-up figure move past 4 or 5 million at the earliest possible time."

    Office of Telecommunications (Oftel)

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