UK superfast broadband uptake proving slower than expected
The speed at which UK consumers are adopting superfast broadband technology is proving to be slower than initially expected, according to a new report.
Industry analyst Point Topic has highlighted new figures which suggest that BT and other service providers are seeing lower levels of demand for high-speed internet lines than estimated.
According to the organisation, forecasts for the number of superfast broadband lines expected to be in use by 2015 has been cut from 8.8 million to 6.7 million.
Meanwhile, its Broadband Infrastructure Index, which provides an overall measure of broadband coverage and prospects for the UK, has fallen from 55 per cent to 53 per cent in the last six months.
This could come as a blow to the government's plans to create Europe's leading superfast broadband network in the UK by 2015, an initiative to which it has committed a £530 million investment.
Figures announced by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this month revealed that the government hopes to provide 90 per cent of the British population with access to superfast services by this time.
However, Point Topic's estimates suggest these services will in fact be usable by only two-thirds of those in the UK in 2015.
In the analysis group's view, the shortfall can be partly explained by the difficulties faced by many providers in rolling out next-generation broadband services.
It also suggested that the trend could be reversed through the implementation of more community initiatives to raise awareness of high-speed internet, pointing to the recent BT Race to Infinity contest as a positive example.
Point Topic's research shows that interest in superfast broadband in exchange areas where these schemes are taking place is much higher than it is in the majority of other regions.
Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, said it is critical that providers make sure they "turn people on to the benefits of superfast broadband and get them interested and using it".