The UK broadband industry added just 963,000 new broadband lines in 2009, less than half the 2008 figure, as the country continued to slump down the European league table of broadband connections.
However, although this was down on the 1.6 million lines added in 2008, a strong surge in the fourth quarter saw 308,000 broadband lines added, a higher number than for the same period the previous year.
The figures from Point Topic, commissioned by the Broadband Forum and announced at the IPTV World Forum, mean that total internet access has now reached 65.3 per cent of UK households. Broadband accounts for 62.1 per cent of the total.
Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, argued that the figures show the UK falling behind other major nations, particularly in the G8, with its rollout of broadband services.
"It could prove very hard to get the last 10 per cent of people online, let alone the last few per cent. The UK has always been comparable to France in the number of people online, but it has slipped behind in the last year or so," he said.
Individual ISPs had mixed fortunes. Virgin Media added 18,500 customers to its 50Mbit/s service during the fourth quarter, a disappointing figure, according to Point Touch, after the firm launched a big price cut in September.
BT remained in the lead with 27 per cent market share, while Sky grew again to reach just under 15 per cent.
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