The UK now has two million broadband connections, according to Oftel, but critics have suggested that this figure includes services that are not technically broadband.
The Office of National Statistics announced that the UK has seen 200 per cent growth in broadband over the past year thanks to falling prices, fierce marketing campaigns and new ways of installing the technology.
With around 35,000 new connections a week, David Edmonds, director general of Oftel, said that it had only taken seven months for the second million users to sign up for broadband services.
The government has seized on the news as proof that it can put the UK at the top of the table for broadband uptake in the G7 group of countries by 2005.
"We now have the third most competitive broadband market in the G7 and we have today hit two million connections in the UK. It goes to show that we are heading full speed in the right direction," said e-commerce minister Stephen Timms.
But analysts pointed out that the figures include connections of 128Kbps.
Oftel maintained that it has always included 128Kbps in its market surveys because it allows it to compare like for like connections across Europe.
However, senior Ovum analyst Michael Philpott told vnunet.com that this could lead to a serious digital divide in the future as 128Kbps could not be considered broadband.
He explained that services such as BT's 128Kbps Midband service, based on its Home Highway ISDN technology, should only be considered as interim measures.
"I wouldn't consider 128Kbps as broadband. These services may be alright at the moment as an introductory offer for rural areas that can't currently get broadband, but what is acceptable today will not be so in the future and they aren't good value for money," said Philpott.
"As people in cities start to get 2Mbps and above as applications such as video streaming become commonplace, unless there is a strategy in place to address the lower bandwidth we will see people outside urban areas at a real disadvantage."
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