Superfast broadband services delivering 30 megabits a second or more now account for 20 per cent of the consumer market in the UK.
“Virgin Media has had the most bandwidth in the market for the longest of the major ISPs. They have seen high end services, over 30 megabits a second, go from ten per cent of their subscriber base to almost sixty percent in the last two years,” says Oliver Johnson, Chief Executive at Point Topic.
Virgin took a conscious decision to upgrade their subscribers to higher bandwidths as part of their services which certainly influences the shift but it’s not the only evidence that superfast is gaining traction in the UK.
Total superfast subscriptions in the UK passed four million in April and are now likely to be more than 20 per cent of the residential market as BT continues its own next generation access roll-out and the unbundling companies like Sky and TalkTalk shift their marketing into high gear.
Consumers are starting to switch on to the benefits of more bandwidth and the subscription pricing is coming into range for many of them.
Users are certainly paying more for their bandwidth. They might be saving elsewhere though as the costs of entertainment packages or other communication costs are reduced or consolidated.
It has been a challenging few years to predict roll-out and take-up as external factors have dominated the standard modelling of the markets. Point Topic is currently within a couple of percentage points for its forecasts of high speed broadband in the UK.
“Superfast will be the engine for growth for the broadband future of Britain. The higher costs will deter some but overall there are enough drivers, the most important by far being television, for thirty megabits and above to be the norm in most households in the UK in the next two or three years,” says Johnson.
For those who have the choice then online video, the ‘killer application’ for consumer broadband, is continuing to drive take-up, for those who don’t and may have to wait longer than promised, it can only be a source of continuing frustration.