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UK Leads France in Broadband Lines

The UK has overtaken France as the broadband leader in Europe, according to broadband research firm Point Topic. As of 1 January 2006 there are approximately 9.8m broadband lines in the UK, compared to 9.7m in France. Point Topic predicts that the gap will widen in the near future, as the British broadband market is currently making changes to stimulate growth.

Unbundling is expected to greatly drive growth in the country during 2006. Point Topic expects the large UK ISPs, such as AOL, Wanadoo and Tiscali, to start migrating customers to their own unbundled equipment on a very large scale. Although the changes will most likely promote competition and therefore benefit consumers, the changes are likely to require a large management effort on the front end.

The creation of Openreach, a provider of broadband access to all service providers on equal terms, is also expected to expand the broadband market in the UK, as is the proposed merger of NTL and Telewest, with the post-merger company likely to have extra capital for investment in new products and services. Point Topic predicts that the UK will have approximately 13m broadband lines by the end of 2006.

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