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Two million 'Broadband' connections in the UK
Thursday 22 May 2003 12:06:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Oftel is reporting that the UK has exceeded the 2 million Broadband users mark. The last one million users have been added in just seven months, and the market is growing at 35,000 connections a week.

Of course this headline figure all depends on your definition of Broadband, Oftel are currently including NTL's 150kbps service in the figures although in a recent review of broadband speeds, the regulator is wanting to redefine broadband as 'always-on' with downstream speeds in excess of 256kbps. NTL has around 380,000 users on its 150kbps service, which makes a large dent in the figures.

Interestingly NTL appears to be trying to fight its corner to be allowed to call its 150kbps (formerly 128kbps) service 'Broadband'. The ASA recently ruled that NTL's definition is likely to mislead (The Register). Interestingly enough, NTL has decided to attack the decision by the ASA which seems to be based on a quick poll of six computer magazine editors who say they consider broadband to mean a service with speeds of 500kbps or above. Certainly that would be a speed that we see as being what most people consider as Broadband in the UK, though many still contend the real definition should be a much higher speed.

If NTL gets its way and is allowed to sell the 150kbps as Broadband, then this will make a mockery of the UK. At a time when Telewest and ADSL ISPs are starting to push 1Mbps and 2Mbps connections into homes, NTL are still trying to hang in at the lower end. Perhaps NTL's bosses should be made to use some Broadband streaming sites and see really what a difference 150kbps connection makes when you try to view streaming videos. Sites such as Real.com have music videos that now run at 450kbps.

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