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Five providers now account for 82% of UK broadband market
Monday 29 January 2007 14:24:55 by Andrew Ferguson

There has been many predictions in a shrinking of the number of broadband providers, and with the regular announcements of acquisitions and mergers over the past year it is no surprise to see that figures published in June 2006 now look very different.

Getting accurate up to the date figures for the number of subscribers is difficult and relies on providers publishing its quarterly results, but relatively accurate figures are available for the large providers.

Broadband provider

Estimate of current subscriber numbers

Market share

BT Retail inc. Plusnet 3,194,000 24.6%
Virgin Media, ntl:Telewest, Virgin 3,193,000 24.6%
Carphone Warehouse, AOL and Talk Talk 1,932,000 14.9%
Tiscali inc. HomeChoice 1,336,000 10.3%
Orange 986,000 7.6%
Pipex, inc Bulldog, F2S, Nildram 570,000 4.4%
Sky Broadband 259,000 2%
Tesco 132,000 1%
Others 1,392,000 12.7%
Total 12994000

The pattern of providers acquiring others does look likely to continue as 2007 progresses, with rumours appearing weekly as to who is the next big target. What is interesting is the large gap between fifth, sixth and seventh places showing that any new entrants to the market have a big gulf to cross if they want to become a large nationally recognised broadband player. This is the situation Sky, Vodafone and O2 (via Be) probably find themselves in.

Last week saw Ofcom publish some research into what it calls 'niche Internet service providers'. The details of the research can be read at The 686 providers identified service around 30% of UK businesses and a smaller 5% of UK households. The value of this sector is not one to be sniffed at with 1.9 million customers creating a turnover of £1.15 billion each year. For those who read the full Ofcom document it is worth remembering that the data collection took place before the rate adaptive up to 8Mbps broadband products were widely available.

The Ofcom research was that 54% of those companies in the research try to offer a personal service, followed by quality of service and bespoke solutions as their key advantages compared to the larger providers.

Updated 31st January 2007: Added 259,000 customers on Sky Broadband.


Posted by boggits over 10 years ago
Sky seems to be conspicious in its absense...
Posted by Vigilant1 over 10 years ago
Sky, could it loosely be covered under'Others'.
Debatable, bearing in mind Sky's ownership of Easynet.
Posted by Goggo over 10 years ago
Look where Virgin, TalkTalk and Tiscali are on the DSL Zone Ratings - almost bottom! Personally I don't trust USwitch - it's there for it's own ends. Better to use TB forums and other sites!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 10 years ago
As yet I am not aware of any reliable figures for sign-ups to Sky. Volumes on the forums suggest 100,000 to 200,000 perhaps - but this is hard to judge.
Posted by kitkatnodogs over 10 years ago
I would not look beyond Virgin Media, ntl:Telewest, Virgin I have been with them for about 3 years. last year they up my speed up to 4mb. free of charge. I am about 8 miles from the exchange and always get at lease 3.6mb. well done blueyonder!
Posted by sanjay01 over 10 years ago
Having been with Telewest for many years, I know I am paying more than for other providers. However, their service has been fantastic over the years and I am reluctant to save money by changing provider to what may turn out to be a poorer service.
Posted by gendy943 over 10 years ago
Line rental to calls through 18185 and the money I save there lets me pay for my Zen ADSL which is and always has been superb.
Posted by wlchubb over 10 years ago
At another location I use Tiscali broadband which, since 16 January, has not worked. There is also a fault [interference] on the phone for which Tiscali is also the provider. They really are useless when dealing with problems and I've now threatened to terminate the agreement and cancel the direct debit because they are no longer providing the contracted service. The problem is - where to go from there??!! I use BT Total Broadband Option One at home which is fine, so will probably opt for that.
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