When the target was set by BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen last year, BT had only 145,000 broadband connections. Now, more than 71% of UK households are currently connected to broadband-enabled exchanges and BT estimates this figure will increase to more than 80% by the end of 2003.
According to Verwaayen: "It is a great achievement. The UK is one of the most competitive broadband environments in the world and this is shown by the fact that more than 100 service providers supply broadband over our phone lines to 1m customers."
To mark the achievement, BT is giving a boost to parts of the UK that do not yet have access to broadband. Every "trigger level" across the UK will be reduced by 50 registrations, a reduction of up to 25%.
Trigger levels are the number of people who need to register their demand for broadband before BT upgrades an exchange with ADSL technology. The news means that 69 exchanges will immediately hit their triggers and work will begin to upgrade them with broadband technology.
The one-millionth customer to be connected to broadband over BT's network is the Winrose Project, a supported living scheme which helps disadvantaged young people in the South Leeds area. The Winrose Project, a customer of Legend ISP, will use broadband to help young people gain e-learning skills and to have internet access.
The growth in BT's wholesale broadband connections, which includes all ISPs using BT's phone lines as well as BT Broadband, has been aided by the high profile "Broadband has landed" advertising campaign, created by St Luke's, and starring Dave the Engineer.
In the 13 months from April 2002 to April 2003, the number of European surfers using high-speed grew by 136%, according to the latest research from Nielsen//NetRatings. In some countries the growth rate was higher, with the UK experiencing the largest increase at 235% during this period. Around 28% of European internet users are now connected at high speed, a growth of 14% from April last year.
In the US, 35% of the population surf the web using a broadband connection, but this figure is dwarfed by some of the Asia Pacific markets, with 82% of Hong Kong's internet population connected via broadband.
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This article was first published on brandrepublic.com