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'Broadband success' at odds with independent findings
by Richard Powell at 11:48 17/10/02 (Political News)
Findings by business analysts are providing a picture of national broadband roll-out at odds with the Government's claims of success.
Related articles:
  • BT's million-a-day gamble to rescue broadband
  • Study says content is key driver for broadband
  • Contractors sceptical as Government announces new UK broadband team
  • UK households with broadband Internet connections ranked lowest in Europe in a recent survey and businesses are continuing to complain they are unable to gain access.

    The survey, undertaken by Netstats.com, an Internet statistics company, showed broadband take-up in the UK was at nine per cent, compared with Germany's 39 per cent and Sweden's 33 per cent.

    However, no one seems to be able to come close to South Korea, which continues to lead the world with a total of 9.2 million connections in July.

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported last year South Korea had 10 connections per 100 people. By comparison Canada had four connections per 100 and the US, three.

    The OECD's statistics showed UK take-up at 0.08 per cent, ranking 28th after Portugal and the Czech Republic.

    Ireland, the fastest growing economy in Europe, ranked 26th.

    The UK Government now estimates the number of broadband subscribers has trebled to one million since the beginning of 2002 with an estimated 20,000 homes and businesses now being connected each week.

    It claims 63 per cent of the population now has access to broadband, with 40 per cent having a choice of provider.

    Speaking recently, Stephen Timms, the e-commerce Minster, said: "The milestone of one million connections is not all we have to celebrate. Thanks to thriving competition we can boast some of the lowest prices in the world. At this pace, the UK is well on its way to being the most extensive and competitive market for broadband in the world."

    However, a recent study by the Communications Management Association (CMA) showed the Government's unswerving enthusiasm continues to be at odds with access to the service.

    Seventy-eight per cent of the survey's respondents said the Government should do more to make universal broadband access a reality.

    Eighty-seven per cent said they did not believe BT is doing enough to meet demand.

    Carolyn Kimber, CMA Chairman, said: "Our results show there is clearly a great deal more work to be done before users will be satisfied. It is disappointing that given the vast demand for broadband services, many potential users are still unable to access ADSL.

    "The Government and Regulator have once again failed to provide constructive help in the delivery of a broadband infrastructure, and as a result, UK businesses are missing out."

    Richard Powell, Shout99.com 2002

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