Page last updated at 23:29 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 00:29 UK

Introducing UK broadband's first customer, 10 years on

broadband's first customer in the UK
Mark Bush, daughter Georgina and his other two children live in Basildon.

The UK's first broadband customer celebrates 10 years with the faster internet connection this week.

Single parent Mark Bush was spending £300 a month on his dial-up connection before pre-registering for broadband with Virgin Media (then NTL).

The original launch of cable broadband in Britain was delayed for 12 weeks to undergo further testing.

Mr Bush asked to have it installed anyway and was NTL's sole broadband client during the extra test period.

"It was pretty impressive in the early days, with having the whole pipe to myself," he told BBC News.

Mr Bush was not charged while the broadband connection was still being tested.

Heart of the household

A flight enthusiast, he had set up a website about combat flight and found that it was requiring longer periods of time online to maintain.

Frugalsworld.com is currently offline. It started out as four pages of text written during a quiet night shift at work, but developed into a flight simulation game with 1.2m visitors a month at its peak, Mr Bush said.

"When I first signed up I thought broadband would be something that would help with my gaming," he said.

These days the family computer is at the heart of the Bush household.

The internet is used for everything from homework help for the children to Mr Bush's research into his son's ADHD condition.

The Bush family also chat together on social networking site Facebook when they are not in the same room.

"Traditionally there would have been a generation gap - a 47 year old Dad would have little in common with a 17 year old son and 14 year old daughter," he said.

"But we have the internet in common... without it I would probably see less of my kids."

Fight for survival

Twenty residents in South Shropshire meanwhile are fighting to save their broadband from disconnection on 31 March, the 10th birthday of fast internet access in the UK.

QI Comm installed equipment to boost coverage to rural homes in Clun Forest but is due to switch it off at the end of March for economic reasons.

Those affected are looking at alternative solutions, which include running the service themselves.



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