The latest financial results from the BT Group reveal that BT Retail is once again the largest broadband provider in the UK with 245,000 new connections in the last quarter, in addition to 195,000 PlusNet customers the division acquired. This means BT Retail has 3.7 million broadband customers, placing it ahead of Virgin Media again. The preliminary results can be read over at www.btplc.com.
As of 31st March 2007, the group through BT Wholesale or LLU had 10.7 million broadband connections, of which 1.9 million were LLU based. This is an increase of 2.6 million connections over the last 12 months. Across the UK there are 4.2 million Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) lines. BT Retail mentions of a figure of 1.4 million registered VoIP (Voice over IP) customers, though does not reveal how many minutes of calls these customers make on average.
In a market that appears to be very price driven it is surprising to read that over half of BT Retail customers order the higher priced broadband packages. Whether this is a measure of the success of BT marketing, incorrect assumptions by consumers that BT is the only provider in their area, or people weighing up the various pros and cons and deciding the BT packages are for them is unclear.
Looking towards the future, once again the prospect of ADSL2+ being rolled out surfaces. ADSL2+ should appear in 2008 once the core upgrades to the national BT network for 21CN are completed. Using the new 21CN IP core network for the extra traffic ADSL2+ will generate is important as the network should be scaled to cope with the load, and hopefully it will be cheap enough for broadband providers to buy enough capacity so that consumers can actually make use of the extra speeds they get. For those trying to second guess when it will appear in their area by using sites such as www.switchedonuk.org it is worth mentioning that the date for phone lines switching and ADSL2+ availability are not neccessarily the same.
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