Broadband Britain is Recovering From the ‘Free’ Broadband Shock Therapy

Broadband watcher Point Topic has just published a detailed analysis of take-up of DSL lines as reported by BT for Q3 2006. The analysis looks at penetration and growth rates, as well as net additions of DSL broadband as reported in each BT Area between April 2005 and September 2006.

“We estimate that the total number of BT DSL lines increased from 8.07 to some 8.49 million by the end of September 2006. With some 410,000 lines added in this quarter, BT’s net additions were up slightly compared to 311,004 in Q2 2006.

Our earlier report for H1 2006 found that despite the tempting ‘free’ broadband services now offered by several ISPs, broadband take-up was slow in the first half of 2006. This was by no means due to lack of consumer interest, but mainly a lack of technical availability. Delay in Local-Loop-Unbundling has caused major delays for thousands of broadband customers wanting to get a free service.”

With customer complaints persisting the second half of 2006 has not started any better according to Point Topic, but there are also signs of a gradual recovery in Broadband Britain.

“LLU made good progress in Q3 2006, up from 580,000 to 850,000. This represents a quarterly net addition of 270,000 unbundled lines, compared to 220,000 in Q2 2006. Together with Kingston Communication’s contingent of DSL lines in and around the city of Hull, we estimate that the number of DSL lines in the UK now totals 9.4 million, up from 8.7 million in Q2 2006. All in all, the UK’s DSL base grew by 8% this quarter, compared to 6.5% last quarter.”

BT’s DSL figures for Q3 2006 show that the progress in LLU has a considerable effect on BT’s wholesale business. Slowly, but steadily LLU is beginning to erode BT’s dominance in some areas of the UK. London and Greater Manchester are the two regions in which BT’s share of DSL lines drop by 1.7% and 3.6% respectively in Q3 2006.