UK broadband lines to double in three years

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UK broadband lines to double in three years

Point Topic predicts fast growth, especially in rural areas.

The proportion of UK households with broadband is likely to almost double in three years, from 34 percent at the end of 2005 to 64 percent at the end of 2008, research predicts.

According to Point Topic's first spatial broadband forecasts, the installed base of broadband lines in the country will increase from 9.77 million to 18.46 million (including business lines) with the fastest growth in remote rural areas.

"Our figures show how hugely successful broadband has been in the UK," said Tim Johnson, chief executive at Point Topic.

"Only three years ago, one analyst was forecasting that it would take until 2008 for broadband to reach 35 percent of British households. That milestone was passed last January.

"Another analyst said we would reach eight million broadband households in 2008, but we think it's going to be more than 16 million households with broadband by the end of 2008."

The forecast shows that remote rural areas where penetration is lowest will grow fastest and catch up with the rest of the country to some extent.

But the highest take-up will continue to be in prosperous areas of the south east of England. Waverley in Surrey is predicted to have the highest take-up at 91 percent of households on broadband.

However, despite the high penetration levels achieved in some areas, the forecast points to a declining growth rate.

"The market is getting much tougher. The number of new broadband lines is going to fall from about 3.7 million this year to 2.2 million in 2008," said Johnson.

"The ISPs are going to have to fight much harder to keep their share of a shrinking market. They will try to take customers off each other rather than finding new ones."
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