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By: MarkJ - 31 August, 2010 (6:08 AM)
btBT has revealed that its UK telecoms network is now home to 15 Million broadband ISP connections, which is equivalent to adding over 5,000 new subscribers every day since August 2002 when BT had just 200,000. Virgin Media UK is home to the second largest bulk with 3,936,000 (Q2-2010 data) customers on its separate Cable Modem (DOCSIS) platform.

BT's Strategy Director, Olivia Garfield, said:

"Broadband Britain has been a success story with widespread availability, low prices and high take up. People were sceptical when BT backed broadband in 2002 but the figures speak for themselves with the vast majority of new customers choosing broadband over BT’s network rather than alternative ones where prices are far higher.

The story doesn’t end here as BT is now investing a further £2.5 billion to roll out fibre broadband to two thirds of the UK. This will help the UK climb the league tables for speeds, one of the few areas in which we don’t lead the world."

However the BT figure also includes customers of unbundled ( LLU ) ISPs, such as Sky Broadband , O2 and TalkTalk UK, which have installed their own hardware into BT's telephone exchanges and effectively become semi-independent of the operator with greater control over their own platform and prices.

Ofcom's most recent Telecommunications Market Data Tables, which covers the period to Q4-2009, offers a better idea of where all those fixed line broadband subscribers are coming from.
Q4-2009 UK Fixed Line Broadband Subscribers
BT Retail DSL (ADSL) - 4,876,000
Other DSL (exc. LLU) - 3,132,000 [e.g. BT Wholesale]
Virgin Media (Cable) - 3,845,000
Other inc. (LLU DSL) - 6,381,000 [e.g. TalkTalk , Sky Broadband , O2 etc.]
It's worth pointing out that, over the past few years at least, there has been a trend of broadband subscribers moving away from BT based ISPs and onto cheaper LLU solutions. In many ways the 15 Million figure is more attributable to their success at attracting new customers than that of BT's own propositions.

Indeed some LLU ISPs have been offering broadband speeds of "up to 24Mbps" ( ADSL2+ ) for half a decade ( e.g. Be Broadband ), which is something that BT itself has only really brought to the retail and wholesale markets in the past year or two.

BT will at least retain more control over its new generation of "up to 40Mbps" fibre optic based FTTC broadband services, although this could stifle uptake due to the initially high prices and lack of non-BT competition; Virgin Media's cable platform notwithstanding.

The UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that 19.2 Million households (73%) now have internet access, with nearly the same percentage using broadband as their primary means of internet connection. Saturation is clear but there is still room for further growth, with 9.2 million adults yet to go online.

UPDATE 12:50pm

Added the full BT quote, which was missed earlier.
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