Ofcom publishes a number of periodic reports, the latest one is the Communications Market interim report. This looks at the markets Ofcom regulates and summarises the activity for the last few months, which means it has detail on the Telecoms, Radio and Television markets.
The biggest broadband figure, is that in December 2005, the UK had 9.8 million broadband connections, With the rate of growth in LLU connections, and continued demand for ADSL and cable services this figure will now have broken the ten million barrier. The cross-over between the broadband and the television sectors can be seen to be increasing with the various big TV companies launching or trialling a variety of access methods to both live and previously aired material.
The growth in unbundled services from 50,000 in the first quarter to 2005, to 250,000 lines by February 2006 is impressive, and indications are that this is accelerating. Broadband in the UK started roughly some six years ago in 2000, and it was not until 2002 that there was around 600,000 connections. In fact in June 2002 there was only around 250,000 ADSL connections, so LLU has achieved in one year, what it took BT originally two years to accomplish. This gives some credence to projects for well over a million LLU lines by the end of 2006. Though the question will be, will BT Wholesale and the regulator allow the growth of LLU services to create a two tier broadband system in the UK, or will BT make a move to reduce the burden that the combination of high line speeds and Capacity Based Charging (CBC) place on the service providers. The CBC pricing regimes for BT Centrals is very much at the heart of the growth in the various capping systems prevalent in the UK. While we acknowledge it is not the sole reason for caps to exist, if the dreams of TV content providers are to be realised on a large scale the costs to service providers outside of areas serviced by LLU will need to be reduced.
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