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Five million ADSL users, and rising
Monday 04 April 2005 12:13:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The BT Group has announced that this week will see the five millionth ADSL customer connected, which beats their expectations of hitting this target in 2006. According to the BT press release located here, the rate of take-up for ADSL is exceeding that of even mobile phones.

"Three years ago when we set a target of five million by 2006 it seemed a daunting task. To have reached this milestone so early into 2005 is a massive achievement for the whole industry. The momentum of broadband is continuing to build. The latest million connections have come in just four months, and BT is connecting a customer every ten seconds. But now the focus needs to move from broadband availability towards the ways in which broadband can improve people’s lives. At work through greater productivity, and at home by delivering a whole range of new services.

We believe that if the Government and the industry keep working together, by 2007:

  • The UK economy could be boosted by up to 7.5 billion pounds through productivity gains attributed to broadband
  • Up to 16 billion fewer miles could be driven as broadband enables more people to work from home and shop online
  • Every school child in Britain will be able to learn via broadband
  • More than 18 million people in the UK will be shopping online
  • Millions of hospital outpatient appointments will be booked over broadband
  • "

Ben Verwaayen, BT’s CEO

With the number of households connected to an ADSL enabled BT exchange expected to meet 99.6% by this summer, and roughly 99.8% of these households actually able to receive a 0.5Mbps service, coverage in the UK for a basic broadband service far exceeds many other countries. In actuality this will put the UK ahead of any other G7 country in terms of coverage. A note for those in the 0.2% whose lines will not support a 0.5Mbps - there is an outside chance that the line may support the BT IPStream Home 250 service. We know of three providers who offer this product, E7even, Zen Internet and Vispa.

Of course as broadband take-up increases and services start to rely on it, then we may see a digital divide growing in the nation, often as the simple result of people not being able to afford a computer. Ensuring that large groups of the population are not excluded from the broadband revolution will be critical in the next few years. A BBC News Online article features a seven point plan that has been unveiled by the current government, which hopefully will address some of the issues.

Update 14:50 - Added Vispa as an ISP offering BT IPStream Home 250.

Update 5th April 2005 18:00 - Added E7even as an ISP offering BT IPStream Home 250.


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