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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 09:29 GMT
Broadband prices to hold steady
Computer cable
The cost of getting broadband seems unlikely to change
The days of broadband bargains could be over, a study of the cost of high-speed net access suggests.

A survey of broadband prices across the world by industry analysts Point Topic shows that costs have fallen over the past three years.

But it found that prices have stabilised and there are unlikely to be further cuts in the near future.

There are now an estimated 100 million broadband connections globally, three million of them in the UK.

Holding firm

The study by Point Topic looked at the monthly cost of entry-level ADSL services from 18 companies in Europe, the US and Asia towards the end of last year, compared to the situation in 2001.

BT and the other operators all have problems with profitability. I think they will avoid price wars
Tim Johnson, Point Topic
Overall, the cost of broadband fell by 22% worldwide over the past three years.

It found that 2003 was a good year for consumers, with competition driving down the cost of a high-speed net connection over the phone line via ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line).

By the end of year, a majority of internet providers were holding firm on prices, looking now to make a profit from the technology.

"I think broadband prices are likely to stay much the same or only drop slowly over the next few years," said Tim Johnson of Point Topic.

"BT and the other operators all have problems with profitability. Their opportunities for making up for price cuts by winning extra volume are limited.

"I think they will avoid price wars," he told BBC News Online.

The good news is that Point Topic do not expect prices to go up.

Instead it sees net providers using technical advances to improve the product, such as offering higher download speeds.

The downside is that the number of people turning to broadband is likely to slow down.

"I think the growth rate will level off," said Mr Johnson. "It looks like being about two million additional lines in 2004 and I doubt if the rate will increase much if at all in future.

"But even at this rate, half the homes in the UK will have broadband by late 2008."

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