The UK has arrived late at the superfast broadband table, but is playing catch-up, alas there is a lag in terms of people buying the products. Even with this delay Tim Johnson of Point Topic has published a forecast that superfast broadband take up will be over 10.5 million lines across the UK by 2016.
"It's still a risky and controversial forecast. It is always difficult to predict something which is expected to grow so fast. If the forecast is correct, the number of superfast lines will grow 50 times over between mid-2011 and the end of 2016."Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic
Tim also highlights the reality that people are not forming crowds to get superfast broadband. With that said we are seeing people changing providers after years of loyalty simply because superfast is available now in their area. It look as if we are repeating the situation of 2001 and 2002 when the geeks (who tend to be early adopters in this case) and people working from home four out of five days of the week really could see the benefit of broadband. The key to the forecast, will be once the other large providers beyond BT Retail, TalkTalk and Virgin Media are offering superfast services.
The forecast does identify that growing demand for bandwidth will most likely be the key, as it has in the last 15 years. Point Topic suggest that in all likelihood 30 Mbps will be regarded as a good standard connection speed, rising to 100 Mbps by 2021. One of the biggest drivers is the increasing quality of video available from broadcasters. Ten years ago people struggled to find any online video at 300 Kbps, now movie trailers are commonly available at rates well over 5Mbps, and catch-up TV services offer HD content needing 3 to 5 Mbps of constant speed.
We are expecting that Christmas 2011 will be the year when Internet connected TV's will become a lot more common, adding another online video device to home networks. Christmas day usually sees a flurry of online activity as people get the myriad of updates for new games, tablets, fill ebook readers and so on, so it may be when people realise how crowded their current connection can be.