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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 13:44 GMT
Broadband gets popular
Fibre on top of the world, Eyewire
18.7 million users worldwide have a DSL connection
The number of UK users subscribing to broadband has doubled since BT introduced its cheaper, self-install service.

Interest in the high-speed internet service has shot up since its Plug & Go service was launched last month, says BTopenworld's chief executive, Alison Ritchie.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 customers a week are now subscribing to BTopenworld's new product.

Other ISPs have also seen an increase in demand in recent weeks following BT's decision to cut the cost of wholesale ADSL.

Price cut

Last week, Zen Internet announced that it was cutting its price to 29.99 per month and Freeserve plans to launch DIY broadband in Dixon's electrical stores next month.

"BT made a fantastic move with their price cuts and we wholeheartedly commend them on this bold step," said Zen's marketing manager Ian Buckley.

"This new pricing will enable us to roll out ADSL to the mass market and should really push the UK up in the broadband league tables," he said.

DSL, which allows high-speed internet services to run through existing telephone lines, is now the number one broadband technology according to data from analyst firm Point Topic.

DSL vs cable

More than 18 million people across the globe had a DSL connection at the end of last year, five million more than those with a cable connection.

The DSL Forum hopes to have connected 200 million homes and businesses by the end of 2005.

The recent growth of broadband will come as a welcome relief to European governments desperate to compete with the US in the hi-tech arena.

At a European Parliament meeting in Barcelona, getting broadband into homes and businesses was high on the agenda.

Figures so far have been disappointing, with just 6% of European homes with a high-speed net connection.

Easy to do

Roy Latham is a sole trader offering information technology consultancy services to small businesses in the UK.

He installed BTopenworld's Plug & Go himself and has been very impressed with the service. Like many users, speed is the key benefit for him.

"Before installing broadband, I would literally spend hours and hours waiting for files to download.

"If the connection crashed, the whole process would have to begin again. Similar files now download within a matter of minutes," he said.

As for installing broadband himself, he found it a doddle.

"The hardest part was crawling under a desk to plug in the filter boxes," he said.

See also:

09 Mar 02 | Sci/Tech
Tempting people to broadband
26 Feb 02 | Business
Opening up the broadband market
26 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
Which broadband technology will win?
26 Feb 02 | Business
Understanding broadband
19 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
Dogged fight for broadband
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