LONDON: Broadband penetration in the UK rose by just 0.5% from July to October this year according to Deloitte, which expects annual growth to slow from 9% in 2007 to 5% this year.

Deloitte says UK broadband penetration has grown by 37% over five years, reaching 62%, or 17 million households. It warns, however, that market saturation and the economic slowdown means "fixed broadband penetration could be approaching its natural upper limit".

Says the firm's  technology, media and telecoms partner Howard Davies: "In straitened times, and with penetration levels of many gadgets already high, most 'replacement' or 'upgrade' purchases may be given a second thought." 

  • Despite this trend, however, Virgin Media has launched a new high-speed premium-priced service. Argues ceo Neil Berkett: "Broadband is not a discretionary spend".

    Its new "super-fast" 50mbps broadband offering, will be rolled out across its entire network next year. 
    The release of the new service follows on from a third quarter during which 50% of its new subscribers were opting for one of Virgin's two most expensive packages.

    Berkett optimistically opines: "Despite the current environment, despite the doom and gloom about people choosing very wisely and frugally, customers are paying for the superior services they need for their superior data consumption."

  • Data sourced from Times; additional content by WARC staff