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Half of UK’s adults have broadband

More than half the UK’s adult population has a broadband connection at home, according to media and communications watchdog, Ofcom.

In its Digital Progress Report on the broadband market, released Monday, Ofcom said that in the seven years since its mass market introduction, broadband has become one of the fastest growing communications technologies.

The report shows a rise in adoption from 39 per cent a year ago to over 50 per cent today which represents a seven-fold increase over the last four years. More than 13 million UK homes and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are now connected to broadband, Ofcom said, compared with 9.9 million a year earlier and 330,000 in 2001.

The watchdog said many new internet users are choosing to go straight to broadband rather than first taking dial-up. According to Ofcom’s research, 23 per cent of people with no internet at home said they were likely to connect in the next year with 76 per cent of those saying they would opt for broadband.

The report also shows that broadband prices are continuing to fall. Speeds of up to 2 Mbit/s were available for £15 a month in 2006, down from £50 in 2003. In 2006 a number of communications providers started offering a broadband service at no extra cost to consumers who took other services as part of a bundle.

Bundling is an important factor for consumers when choosing an internet service provider according to Ofcom. At the end of 2006, over 40 per cent of all adults with broadband at home took broadband alongside other communications services from the same provider.

When asked what the most important factor influencing ISP choice was, the same proportion of broadband users cited the possibility of bundling with other services (27 per cent) as did price (27 per cent).

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said: “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.”

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