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

Thursday, Aug 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).

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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