Numbers released Tuesday by UK telecoms regulator Oftel show the number of Britons now accessing the internet via broadband services has swept past the one million mark – and continues to grow at the rate of 20,000 new connections weekly.

The surge in growth coincides with the slashing of broadband prices in January by BT, the virtual monopoly that dominates the nation’s telecommunications network. Under pressure from the government, BT reduced its inflated broadband pricing structure to levels nearer those in the US and other European countries, and now targets to have five million broadband customers by 2006.

Said a grateful government minister, Stephen Timms, responsible for ecommerce: “This is great news for the UK. Today's figures show that people are really beginning to appreciate the benefits of broadband. It took five years for the UK to see one million people using mobile phones.”

Timms then switched to the obligatory flagwaving for junior politicians eager to climb the greasy pole: “ At this pace the UK is well on its way to being the most extensive and competitive market for broadband in the world,” he boasted.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff