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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 11:42 GMT
UK broadband use reaches new high
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Broadband has taken over UK net use in a few short years
Almost nine out of 10 UK net users are connecting via broadband services, official figures reveal.

Information gathered by National Statistics (ONS) for September show that 88.4% of Britons are choosing to use broadband rather than dial-up.

The statistics show that 49.2% of those connections are for services advertised at two megabits per second or faster.

But analysis of the figures suggest the broadband market is static, which could mean tough times for service suppliers.

Tough times

The figure for September is only slightly up on the June total of 86.2%, but indicates a 26% rise over the last 12 months.

The statistics show that broadband has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity among net users since services started to be available and affordable.

As recently as March 2003, ONS reports, 84.7% of people went online via dial-up modems and only 15.3% had broadband.

The statistics also offer a breakdown of the speeds that people have signed up to, and show that the proportion of people on higher speeds - between two and eight megabits per second (Mbps) - has grown. Only 4% of those questioned were using services faster than eight Mbps.

Analysts Point-Topic say there is evidence for a slowdown on broadband take-up as the pool of dial-up users diminishes.

Broadband net firms have relied on converting people from dial-up for most of their growth over the last 12 months, said Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point-Topic.

Mr Johnson said this could spell tougher times for net firms.

Not only were dial-up users resisting being converted, but households without net access, estimated to number about 10 million, were also declining to sign up in large enough numbers to sustain growth.

"With almost 40% of British households on the wrong side of the digital divide, the social and economic progress of the UK will be stalled unless the great majority of these homes can be brought on to the internet," said Mr Johnson.

SEE ALSO
Online spending 'to reach 40bn'
12 Nov 07 |  Business
Dealing with a digital underclass
29 Apr 05 |  Technology
Broadband UK needs 'more speed'
18 Oct 06 |  Technology
Net firms quizzed on speed limits
10 Oct 07 |  Technology
Broadband speeds under scrutiny
21 Sep 07 |  Technology
Government mulls broadband help
19 Sep 07 |  Technology
Ofcom looks to future of fast net
26 Sep 07 |  Technology

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