Broadband Britons Now Outnumber Dial-Up Dawdlers

15 July 2005

A new milestone on the road to digital nirvana was passed in June when the number of Britons accessing the internet via broadband overtook those surfing with dialup connections.

This crossing of the cyber-Rubicon was announced by UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom, which on Wednesday published its annual review of the communications market.

Broadband's speed of conquest - 8.1 million installations as of June, compared with 7.5m dialup connections - has outpaced by far the growth of TV. It took the latter thirty years from launch to ubiquity; broadband has become a mass market medium in just four years.

Ofcom senior partner Ed Richards hailed last month's milestone as the emergence of "a digital mass market" that will facilitate new consumer products, for example the delivery of TV content via phone lines.

"BT and companies like Video Networks are beginning to gear up for a range of new products. It's no longer a case of basic broadband: this is an area of rapid potential development," predicts Richards.

You can hear the smacking of marketers' lips from as far afield as Alpha Centauri. Broadband users are far more likely to download music, listen to radio, play network computer games or watch television online with a fast connection. The proportion of onliners watching video clips via broadband is 36%, compared with 9% of dial-up dalliers.

Ofcom also unveiled other data on Britons' digital love affair. Every month 250,000 homes switch to digital television, with 62% of all households now linked to dTV either via the Freeview digibox platform, cable TV or Rupert Murdoch's satellite monopoly BSkyB.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff