LONDON: UK communications regulator Ofcom on Monday published its quarterly Digital Progress Report - a snapshot of the British broadband market in the quarter to 30 December 2006. This surveys levels of take-up, usage and the types of services available.

In the seven years since its mass market introduction, broadband has become one of the fastest growing communications technologies.

Over 50% of UK adults now have broadband at home - up from 39% a year ago and a 700% increase over the last four years.

More than thirteen million homes and small and medium-sized enterprises are now connected to broadband, compared with 9.9 million a year earlier and 330,000 in 2001.

Moreover, broadband prices are continuing to fall. Speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s were available for £15 a month in 2006, compared with £50 in 2003.

In 2006 some communications providers started offering broadband services at no extra cost to consumers who bought other services in a 'bundle'.

The practice has become a key factor in influencing ISP choice - with the same proportion of broadband users (27%) citing bundling with other services as they did price.

Other key findings include . . .

  • Among all UK adults, 21% owned a Wi-Fi enabled laptop in February 2007, over one third of whom had used public Wi-Fi hotspots to access the internet. In September 2006 there were around 12,000 public hotspots in the UK, a 32% increase on the previous year.

  • One in three UK adults said they owned an internet-enabled cellphone in February 2007 and half of those had used it to go online.

  • In 2006 residential and SME connections generated £1.84bn in revenue for broadband providers, a 15-fold increase in six years.
Comments Ofcom ceo Ed Richards: "With over half of UK adults now using broadband at home, we have reached a very significant milestone in the development of broadband Britain. Consumers are responding positively to the competition and innovation that the UK market now offers."

To view the full Ofcom report click here.

Data sourced from Ofcom (UK); additional content by WARC staff