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BT and Virgin Media Push UK Superfast Broadband to Over 2 Million Subscribers

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 (12:29 pm) - Score 637

Telecoms analyst Point Topic has today revealed that some 10% (2 million+) of the United Kingdom’s fixed line ISP subscribers were connected via a superfast broadband (25Mbps+) service at the start of July 2012, which leaves 16.3 million on standard broadband products with sub-25Mbps speeds (total 21.3 million). But problems remain.

As you’d expect the vast majority of this increase has come from two of the country’s biggest broadband providers. BT Retail alone added +150,000 new superfast BTInfinity (FTTC) subscribers during Q2-2012 to reach a new total of over 700,000 (here), while Virgin Media increased its total from 850,000 in Q1-2012 to 1.3 million at the end of Q2-2012 (here).

Much of this increase has come at the expense of existing broadband services, such as older copper-based up to 24Mbps capable ADSL2+ packages, which are being cast aside as existing subscribers migrate onto newer platforms. Point Topic notes that broadband services in general only added a “disappointing” figure of +175,000 new customers during Q2-2012.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said:

Copper isn’t finished, it’s still an important part of the UK’s broadband strategy, but the days of sub-superfast are numbered. Super high-bandwidth options whether delivered over co-axial cable by Virgin Media or over an hybrid copper/fibre network by other players are now where the consumer sees the future.

Virgin Media is responsible for the majority of these superfast gains. They have been upgrading and upselling their customer base very successfully over the last 18 months. BT is now joining the party with 150 thousand new superfast customers in the quarter, their best yet, and their network is now being used by other players like Sky and TalkTalk to add to the number of high-bandwidth customers in the UK.

Challenges remain though. How will we reach the millions still without any broadband at all? Where are the plans for measuring the UK against the rest of Europe and the world? And how are we going to make high-speed internet access affordable for all? Until we can answer all of these satisfactorily we won’t be parading a gold medal for broadband any time soon.”

The analyst recently predicted that the UK will be home to a total of 25.9 million broadband lines by the end of 2016, with some 10.8 million of that figure expected to come from superfast services. Clearly Point Topic is expecting those “Challenges” to be largely overcome.

Separately Ofcom recently confirmed that 60% of UK homes can now access superfast broadband ISP services (here), which is up from 53% a year ago. So far practically all of this increase has come from the private sector because the governments own Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office is still stuck in a delay riddled battle over competition concerns with the European Commission (here).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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8 Responses
  1. Avatar Kyle says:

    What a load of nonsense. Just because I’m connected via a ‘hybrid’ solution (BT will like this term – wait for the advert), doesn’t mean that I’m automatically going to receive what this group claims to be ‘superfast’ connectivity.

    I have a ‘hybrid’ technology connection but it is most definitely sub-standard. Sorry, I meant sub-superfast.

    Are these people even aware of the ‘upto’ changes to the industry because ‘upto’ isn’t ‘a given’?!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I think you make a valid point there as FTTC services can indeed deliver less than the 25Mbps figure we often see for superfast packages. So far though most ISPs claim that their FTTC average speeds are near the top (not sure how this has changed since the new 80Mbps service surfaced), which suggests that it’s only a minority whom suffer slower.

      I suspect the gap will widen as FTTC, through public funding, gets pushed out into ever more rural and remote areas where longer lines become increasingly common.

  2. Avatar SlowSomerset says:

    What A load of Tosh.

  3. Avatar dragoneast says:

    Why oh why oh why do politicians tell us we need “superfast” broadband which they know they can’t deliver? Talk about setting yourself up. Message to the lot of them: I am sick to death of ex-public schoolboys (mostly) who have such contempt for the common herd they think will believe any old rubbish. We are cleverer than you.

    All technology has limitations, and the available technology is limited by the resources available. Every fool knows that. So why lie? It’s best efforts (at best). Your car might have a maximum speed of 200mph, but you won’t be able to drive everywhere at that speed (surprising as it might seem). You know what: it’s not what you’ve got but how you use it – and I bet there are some people with a sub-2Mbps connection that make a more productive and extensive use of their connection and are more contented individuals than some of those with headline speeds approaching 100Mbps. I wonder why that might be? (Hint: something to do with using your brain). And yes in the recent past I have “suffered” a sub-2Mbps connection and managed both transactions and working from home via the internet. And for those who can’t survive without multimedia: it isn’t the form but the content which matters, or how do you think humans have progressed so far?

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Dragon
      Agree with you. It’s fair to say at the moment that there are no so-called killer apps compelling the majority of people to want high speeds. The evidence is clear that, where people have a choice of speeds with faster ones costing more, the majority are opting to stay with what they have. This may change with Youview etc, but for the moment the market data is telling us that most of us don’t think we need the very fastest broadband available.

  4. Avatar SlowSomerset says:

    No New_Londoner they probably don’t need the fastest speed but what they want is a decent consistent speed my broaadband here is fine if you are home during the day (which I am not) that with an up to speed of 8Mbps which at the very most I can get 6Mbps but at peak time under 1Mbps not much good for anything.

  5. Avatar anon says:

    must be easy pleased the subscribers of this broadband company

  6. Avatar paul antony Razzell says:

    oh yes is all about money getting all way to the end 2017 I think.

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