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Forecast for UK Broadband Service Providers

The number of broadband lines in the UK reached 13.1 million by the end of 2006, adding more than 3.1 million new lines in the year, according to Point Topic. This is a disappointment for many broadband service providers, as growth declined 20 percent compared with 2005.

Delays in meeting the demand for 'free' bundled offers and the task of transferring over 1 million lines to Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) have both contributed to the drop in new broadband connections.

"We believe that internet service providers have the chance to do better in 2007 though," says Tim Johnson, CEO Point Topic. "Our latest survey shows there is still a big latent demand for broadband in the consumer market."

For example, more than 20 percent of the 10 million UK households currently without any internet access say they are 'very' or 'fairly' likely to go online in the next 6 months. Ninety percent of these say they would go straight to broadband, representing 1.8 million potential customers.

"Add the number of homes we expect will upgrade from dial-up and there are 2.5 million new broadband customers to be won in the first half of the year," says Johnson. "Obviously they won't all sign up but we think the industry should be able to win 70 percent of them to add 1,750,000 new lines in the next six months."

If correct this will produce a result very close to Point Topic's previously released detailed forecasts for UK subscriber numbers -- based on its series of surveys and spatial models. These project 14.87 million broadband lines in the UK by the end of June 2007.

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