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UK Broadband Tops Europe
By: MarkJ - 30 December, 2005 (10:15 AM)

Research group Point Topic estimates that the UK has just managed to squeeze ahead of France to become the biggest broadband country in Europe. By New Year's Day 2006 we will have 9.8m broadband lines, while France sits on 9.7m.

The UK added nearly 2.8m broadband lines in the first nine months of 2005 while France added only 2.2m. Point Topic expects the trend to continue with the UK adding at least 200,000 more lines than France in the last quarter.

Britain added just over a million lines in the first quarter of 2005, more than ever before. But it now looks as if that might turn out to have been the highest-ever quarter for broadband looking forward as well. Certainly the second quarter of 2005 was a disappointment, with net additions falling below 860,000. Q3 was better with almost 900,000 additions and Point Topic is forecasting at least 940,000 for Q4 - which is usually one of the better quarters of the year.

Unsurprisingly 2006 is predicted to be the year when local loop unbundled broadband services finally take off. It's hoped that this will give broadband uptake a much needed boost. By the end of September there were over 2.5m unbundled lines in France, but only 122,000 in the UK.

Couple this to the competitive strain that BT is likely to feel from rival LLU broadband products, not to mention the NTL/Telewest merger and 2006 looks to be anything but a dull year. Oh and don't forget all those fancy new wireless standards =).

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