The latest statistics from Point Topic (PT) reveal that UK broadband has finally been hit by the arrival of a real recession. The number of new lines added in the July to September 2008 quarter was a clear 20% below earlier expectations, dropping from a forecast of 390,000 to 313,000.
Unbundled (LLU) lines, where ISPs install their own equipment in BT's telephone exchanges, are still the main driver of continuing growth, adding 323,000 broadband lines in the quarter. Virgin Media added another 60,000 cable modem customers while BT and smaller players actually lost about 70,000 net.
As a result, Point Topic is now forecasting that only 620,000 lines will be added in the second half of 2008. The forecast for 2009 as a whole is 1.1 million, 200,000 down on the earlier forecast. By the end of 2009 there should be about 18.4 million broadband lines in Britain, 300,000 short of what was expected six months ago.
It's interesting to compare PT's estimates for the end of Q2-2008 with the governments Office of National Statistics (ONS), which found that 16.46m (65%) of UK households had Internet access (dialup and broadband) compared with PT's prediction of 16.71m for broadband alone.
Likewise the ONS reported its first -0.3% DECLINE in new Internet Connections for Q2, after having seen a minor increase of 0.5% during Q1-2008.
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