Broadband News

Ofcoms latest quarterly report

The Ofcom machine, has published its latest report, a summary is listed here. The report covers the many areas Ofcom looks after, including Telecoms, Television and Radio. The full report runs to 58 pages and can be downloaded as a PDF document from their website. The document provides an official summary of much of the news from the last few months, e.g. low priced 1Mbps services, new capped services etc.

A little bit of detail on roll-out of LLU services in 2005. We can expect to see Bulldog unbundling 400 exchanges in the second half of 2005, and NTL are expected to have 50 exchanges unbundled by March 2005, with the remaining 250 taking two years to unbundle. So it looks like that by the end of 2005, LLU will be approaching the coverage levels that BT Wholesale had back in 2000. Take-up of LLU services is increasing its seems, there are now a total of 21,000 unbundled lines, 12,000 of these using shared access, and 9,000 using totally unbundled lines. Bulldog switched to using totally unbundled lines when it launched its telephone/ADSL package, also EasyNet are a major business LLU player using fully unbundled lines. The rise in shared lines, is possibly from the increasing popularity of HomeChoice who are set to roll-out their combined TV/Internet to more exchanges in the future.

To give an overall feel for the UK broadband market, there are at the end of September 2004 around 5,300,000 broadband connections. Of these broadband connections over 3 million are ADSL based. New connections are happening at a rate of around 50,000 per week, with BT Wholesale claiming an average of 6,000 per day. All this growth has improved the UKs position in the league tables, but to catch Sweden up, we would need to roughly double our take-up, which at the current rate will take about 2 years, and then only if there is not further large growth in the Swedish market. The European league table is shown below:


Subscribers per 100 of population

Netherlands 15.8
Denmark 15.6
Sweden 12.1
France 8.3
UK 7.5
Germany 6.7
Portugal 6.4
Italy 6.3
Spain 6.1
Source: Ofcom, ECTA

The Ofcom report provides an interesting graph of the variations in broadband market share on page 34. The current shares are shown below:


Market Share

Others 1%
Telewest Broadband 12%
ntl 23%
Other ADSL ISPs (*) 18%
Wanadoo (*) 4%
AOL (*) 12%
Tiscali (*) 7%
BT Retail 24%
Source: Ofcom/Operates
(*) estimates of share from 41% of other ADSL ISPs

The BT Retail market share is down from around 30% in 2001, to the current level of 24%. The largest growth area has been the ADSL ISPs other than BT, who have grown from around 8% share, to a total of 41% now. Share wise it appears Telewest and ntl are being squeezed, but in terms of numbers the overall market is growing so rapidly that most players have had substantial increases in customer numbers.


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