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UK Bundled Broadband Deals See Growth (CM07)
By: MarkJ - 23 August, 2007 (9:57 AM)

Ofcom has released its annual 'Communications Market Report' for 2007 today, revealing among other things a growth in bundled communications services providing landline, broadband, TV and mobile in a single package.

The number of consumers taking bundles rose to 40% of the population by April 2007, up by a third over 12 months:

Increased competition is driving down prices for consumers. Ofcoms analysis of the cost of a typical basket of residential telecoms services (including a fixed line, two mobiles and a broadband connection per household, all at 2006 usage levels) shows that consumers would have paid 6.51 (9%) more for the same bundle of services in 2005 than in 2006. In the five years to 2006 the cost saving on the same bundle was 34.97 in real terms.

Likewise by April 2007 some 53% of UK households had a broadband connection. Headline (advertised) broadband speeds have doubled over the last year and the average blended headline broadband speed stood at 3.6Mbit/s at the end of 2006 compared to 1.6Mbit/s in the previous year. By June 2007 this had risen to 4.6Mbit/s.

The regulator attributes much of this growth to continued investment in local loop unbundling (LLU), which enables operators to install their own equipment in BTs exchanges and offer broadband services direct to consumers:

There has been a threefold increase in the proportion of properties connected to an unbundled telephone exchange which are actually taking an unbundled service, from 3% in March 2006 to 9% in March 2007. Average headline speeds are also being boosted by ongoing investment in infrastructure on both the BT and cable networks.

The report also covers some other services, such as VoIP usage, mobile phone based Internet access and Wi-Fi (wireless) hotspots:

VoIP: Consumers are increasingly using telephone services over the internet offered by so-called VoIP providers. At the end of 2006 20% of respondents to Ofcoms survey said they were phoning online, up from 14% at the end of 2005.

Mobile: Todays consumers are using their mobiles for much more than just making phone calls. Some 41% of mobile phone users regularly use their phone as a digital camera, 13% use it for internet access, 10% listen to FM radio broadcasts, and 21% use it as a mini games console.

Wireless: Wireless networks are allowing more people to access the internet on-the-move. Some 11.2% (7.8m) of mobile phones now connect to a 3G network (70% up on 2005 at 4.6m). The report also shows the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK, which enable broadband speed wireless internet access, is also increasing. By April 2007 there were 11,447 hotspots compared to 10,339 a year previously.

Ofcom's report offers a truly fascinating insight into a complex mix of communication and telecoms markets, one well worth reading if you have the time:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/cm/cmr07/


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