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UK Broadband ISP Market Shares

Posted: 07th Oct, 2005 By: MarkJ
Point Topic has published its Q2-2005 summary of the market shares for UK broadband ISP's. The data reveals a slow decline for the BT brands and cable companies, yet rising shares for larger consumer brands, such as AOL and Tiscali:

BT brands still dominate the market with something around 23%, followed by ntl with about 20%. AOL edged Telewest into third place at the turn of the year and AOL customers now represent an estimated 14% of the total market.

In the consumer market, the battle is being fought between two distinct groups of ISPs: BT brands and ntl is the market leading group, though ntl (including both cable and off-net DSL customers) holds the outright lead by a single percentage point. The second group sees four ISPs, AOL, Telewest, Tiscali and Wanadoo, in the running for third place and all have a flat or growing share of the market. Of these four, AOL is the dominant player and on current form it looks set to join the front runners by early next year.

Evidence from the BroadBand User Survey* suggests that brand recognition is one reason why AOL is enjoying its current surge. Survey respondents were asked to name an ISP unprompted and AOL emerged as the top brand, with a third of all respondents naming AOL before any other. This figure rose as high as 43% in the “Young Singles and Sharers” category (single people aged between 16 and 34, living alone or in shared accommodation), with only BT brands coming close (26%).

Point Topic estimates the UK business market for broadband to represent about 960,000 lines, or some 12% of the total DSL and cable modem market combined. Of this, BT brands have the lion’s share with about a third of the market. Whilst the precise shares of other ISPs in the business sector are unclear, several smaller brands such as Demon, Pipex (including Nildram), Plusnet, Zen, Eclipse and Griffin make an impact on the overall picture.


Clearly being easily identifiable as a brand is good news for some providers, although it’s a pity that more consumers don’t research ISP’s before joining them, paying special attention to the smaller/medium sized ones.

Some will always contest that bigger may well be best because larger providers have the financial resources to resolve their problems, which often stands up until you require some sort of customer support, an area that even the largest providers fail to invest enough in.

Similarly being big doesn’t necessarily mean being quick, with smaller problems becoming more difficult to identify and thus taking longer to resolve. However even smaller providers can run into problems, with Demon and Bulldog being good examples. Sadly poor management will always impact a service regardless of size.
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