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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 13:46 GMT
UK broadband hopes 'unrealistic'
Map of UK with cables superimposed
Half of Europeans do not want broadband
The UK is still languishing behind other European countries when it comes to broadband internet access, a study has found.

According to a European consumer survey by analyst firm Jupiter Research, the UK has just 7% of internet users connected to broadband, compared to 11% in France, 17% in Spain and 29% in Sweden.

Both Germany and Italy have 8% of net users converted to high-speed connections.

The UK does have a higher proportion of overall net users than some of its neighbours but the figures still reflect the slow start Britain has made in going high-speed.

Unrealistic ambitions


The majority of existing internet users have stated that they are unlikely to upgrade to broadband

Dan Stevenson, Jupiter Research
"Pricing, awareness, marketing - the UK was slow on all of them and it is only this year that broadband has become affordable," said Jupiter Research analyst Dan Stevenson.

The government certainly has a long way to go if it is to realise its ambition to make the UK the best place for broadband by 2005.

"That is still completely unrealistic," said Mr Stevenson.

Across Europe, internet service providers will have their work cut out to persuade users to make the shift from narrowband net access to broadband.

The Jupiter survey found that the majority of users are still not interested in upgrading.

Users 'sceptical'

A quarter said they would never get a high-speed connection and 29% said they were unlikely to get one.

Just 26% said they would be looking to get a broadband connection.

"ISPs are right to be spending heavily promoting broadband as consumers are still sceptical as to the benefits it can bring," said Mr Stevenson.

"The majority of existing internet users have stated that they are unlikely to upgrade to broadband. However, falling costs of access and increasing awareness of the benefits broadband brings will drive the market forward in the future," he added.

Announcing its quarterly financial results, BT has reaffirmed its commitment to broadband.

It has spent millions of pounds on advertising its broadband services and this does appear to be yielding results.

Some 35,000 users have so far been connected to its controversial 'no frills' broadband service which allows users to connect directly to the internet without the need for an ISP.

Regulator Oftel is currently investigating whether the service falls within telecom rules.


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