UK superfast broadband connections to hit 600,000

Three per cent of all broadband lines will use BT's fibre network

The number of superfast broadband connections in the UK looks set to exceed 600,000 by the end of 2011, says Point Topic.

The research firm revealed it expects three percent of all broadband lines in the UK to achieve speeds of more than 25Mbps by the end of this year, thanks to BT's fibre network, which combines both fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology.

A further one percent (200,000) will use Virgin Media's 50Mbps service over the cable network.

Currently, just 45,000 broadband connections can achieve this speed or above.

"BT has to reach numbers like this to show that their investment in superfast broadband is credible. They have to show both that the demand is there and that they have the technology to supply it. It's going to be very exciting to see if they manage it," said Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic.

You have to assume that BT can achieve a big increase in its superfast rollout rate during 2011."

Johnson said BT was adding about 3,000 customers a week by October 2010 to its fibre service, BT Infinity, and new orders were running at 4,000 a week.

"It will need to average 9,000 new connections per week in the first half of 2011 and 14,000 in the second half to reach the total Point Topic has forecast," added Johnson.

He said the key issue would be the difficulty in keeping the process running smoothly while scaling it up to cover several times the current number of installations per week.

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