Over 50% of UK adults now have broadband at home - up from 39% a year ago and a seven-fold increase over the last four years, says a report from comms regulator Ofcom.
More than 13 million UK homes and SMEs are now connected to broadband, compared with 9.9 million a year earlier and 330,000 in 2001, Ofcom said.
Many new internet users are choosing to go straight to broadband rather than first taking dial-up. According to Ofcom's research, 23% of people with no internet at home said they were likely to connect in the next year with 76% of those saying they would opt for broadband.
The report also shows that broadband prices are continuing to fall. Speeds of up to 2mbps were available for £15 a month in 2006, down from £50 in 2003.
In 2006, a number of comms providers, including Carphone Warehouse and Sky, started offering a broadband service at no extra cost to consumers who took other services in a bundle.
Bundling is an important factor for consumers when choosing an internet service provider (ISP), said Ofcom. At the end of 2006, over 40% 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%) as did price (27%).
The estimated average headline connection speed was 3.8mbps at the end of 2006, up from 1.6mbps at the end of 2005.
BT currently offers a basic speed of up to 8mbps, although most users don’t experience this speed once connected. The distance from the exchange and the contention rate (the number of other users on the connection in the exchange) slows overall speeds.
The full Ofcom broadband report is available at:
Ofcom says UK needs high-speed fibre networks
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