O2 and Be Broadband has had declining customer numbers now for a year, the latest Q4 financial results list the the number of broadband customers as 620,300 a decline of 5,000 connections compared to the previous quarter. In the last twelve months Telefónica UK who own O2 and Be, has seen customer numbers drop from 671,600 to the current 620,300.
A large part of the decline may be down to O2 making significant changes to its broadband product range with the introduction of traffic management, which to some extent will always be the consequence of trying to run an unlimited service that also has a popular price point. Another large factor, and an oft mentioned reason for people migrating away from Be is the availability of FTTC services in an area, particularly as upload speeds up to 10 Mbps are available.
The recent network problems will not have any effect on these results, but the Q1 figures for 2012 will make for interesting reading when released in a few months time. The Be System Status page indicates that an upgrade to the BBC network is affecting access to BBC web services, but our forums indicate that other sites accessed via the BBC network as a peer are also affected, e.g. EuroGamer.net. Oddly the work on the BBC network appears to be only affecting Be/O2 customers, one or two people have complained about intermittent issues, but not to the extent Be/O2 customers are suffering.
Be is thought to be waiting on approval for plans to offer a FTTC service via Openreach, but if these plans are delayed for much longer, they will find Sky snatching yet more customers.
Sky is managing to continue to offer its unlimited service in the face of increasing bandwidth demands, a large part of these is down to their extensive national fibre backbone which is still growing. Be/O2 have a network expansion plan but this is not expected to complete until the end of 2012.