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By: MarkJ - 26 May, 2010 (7:12 AM)
point topicThe latest Point Topic forecast has predicted that the UK, which is currently home to over 18m fixed broadband ISP lines / subscribers, will exceed more than 25m by the end of 2014; 1 million more than expected. The forecast for the end of 2010 has also been increased to 19,790,000, up from 19,580,000 previously.

The primary reason for all this is the dramatic growth projected for superfast fibre optic broadband services, which is currently still in its infancy with rollouts from BT ( FTTC , FTTH / P ) having only just begun at the start of this year. Contrary to much opinion, Point Topic is predicting a boom in FTTx similar to what happened with BT's ADSL broadband services in the mid-2000's.

Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic, said:

"We believe that FTTx will echo the development of DSL in the UK. People with dial-up internet access converted to broadband in their millions in the boom years. We forecast that superfast broadband will do the same around the middle of this coming decade.

The difference from the noughties is that we think there will be a quicker run-up this time. While it took DSL three years to get from almost nothing to half a million, we expect that FTTx will cover similar ground in only two years."

Point Topic expects that next-generation FTTx broadband will have 12 million lines by the end of 2016. Most of these users are expected to have migrated from DSL. Cable providers, such as Virgin Media UK, will also play a big role in providing superfast broadband but they are expected to show a lower growth-rate overall.

It's hard to believe that such services, which will not have good availability (except for Virgin Media of course) for at least another year or two, could have this much of an impact in such a short space of time. Indeed at current pricing levels they're unlikely to attract many customers away from slower but also considerably cheaper and often more flexible products.

However Point Topic is adamant. It believes that these barriers will be swept aside as user demand for bandwidth and a quality experience spirals upwards. Indeed history and several surveys have shown that the need for speed is often a very compelling reason to signup.
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