Penetration of British digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview was almost three million homes at the end of last year, official figures show.

According to communications regulator Ofcom, the BBC/BSkyB/Crown Castle-backed service -- which offers viewers a range of free-to-air channels once they have purchased a set-top box -- was accessed in 2.997 million homes as of December 31.

Freeview has shown impressive growth since it launched in late 2002, with 866,000 new boxes purchased in the last three months of 2003 alone. It proved a particularly big hit over the Christmas period, when it was selling at a rate of 100,000 boxes a week.

Freeview's rapid rise lifted overall penetration of digital TV to 50.2% (12.4m homes) at the end of last year. This includes 7.2m subscribers of satellite giant BSkyB and over 2m cable-TV customers.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff