Point Topic: 600,000 UK broadband homes by year end

Suggesting that it’s “sticking our neck out a bit with this,” UK broadband market research and analysis firm Point Topic predicts that the number of UK telephone lines carrying superfast broadband will grow from its current number of about 45,000 today to more than 600,000 by the end of 2011. 

“BT has to reach numbers like this to show that their investment in superfast broadband is credible,” explains Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic. “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.” 

BT has announced ambitious roll out plans for its “superfast” broadband service (see "BT to trial gigabit FTTP broadband"), which Point Topic defines as supplying 25 Mbps or more. Meanwhile, the Government has announced its own strategy to spur superfast broadband deployment (see "Digital hubs central to next phase of UK broadband strategy").

Point Topic predicts that BT will supply approximately 3% of the UK’s superfast broadband lines via a combination of fiber-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology. Virgin Media will supply 50 Mbps to a further 200,000 homes via its cable network, Point Topic predicts. 

However, BT will have to increase its deployment rate to make Point Topic look good. BT Infinity will have to triple its October 2010 deployment rate of 3,000 connections per week in the first half of 2011 and then raise it again to 14,000 a week in the second half of the year to hit Point Topic’s numbers. 

Point Topic bases its cheery estimates on several factors:

  • The number of homes to which BT Infinity can market its services will grow from approximately 600,000 in mid-2010 to more than 6 million by the end of 2011.
  • BT Openreach has “largely cracked” the broadband deployment process.
  • Other broadband technologies, such as DSL and local loop unbundling, have achieved similar deployment figures in the past.
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