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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 14:46 GMT
Broadband growth speeds forward
Broadband in the home
The majority of homes are becoming wired for broadband
More and more people in the UK are jumping on the internet's fast lane, official figures show.

Broadband now accounts for 64% of all net connections in the UK, according to figures for December released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Dial-up appears to be in terminal decline, with connections down by a third compared with last year.

The growth of broadband has been fuelled by its widespread availability and competitive prices.

End of dial-up?

It has been a remarkable period of growth for high-speed net access. In January 2001, when the ONS began compiling net data, broadband accounted for less than 1% of connections.

The growth of broadband appears to be largely due to people switching from dial-up to an always-on fast net connection.

The total number of connections grow by only 5.6% between December 2004 and December 2005, said the ONS.

We fully expect a further price war before the summer as a result of mergers, acquisitions and local loop unbundling
Blair Wadman, uSwitch

But over the same 12 months, broadband grew by 59% while dial-up fell by 34%.

Broadband is increasingly becoming an attractive proposition, with many internet providers upgrading customers to faster speeds of 1Mbps (megabits per second) and 2Mbps for no extra cost.

Most recently, there has been a flurry of super-fast (8Mbps) services becoming available. "We expect dial-up services to become almost obsolete by the end of the year as more internet users switch to broadband to access video or other content reliant on a high-speed connection," said Blair Wadman, of the comparison service uSwitch.com.

"The influx of broadband providers last year caused huge competitive waves, and has resulted in a greater number of cheap and accessible broadband packages being available on the market.

"We fully expect a further price war before the summer as a result of mergers, acquisitions and local loop unbundling which could result in broadband connections being widely available for less than 10 a month," he said.

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