The latest estimates from broadband analyst Point Topic suggest that the UK will get its 250,000th superfast broadband line this month.
Virgin Media and BT are leading the way, providing superfast lines that can deliver broadband speeds in excess of 25Mbit/s.
Ofcom said earlier this month that broadband connections in the UK reached 19.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, so the next-generation access (NGA) milestone seems a comparatively minor achievement.
Tim Johnson, Point Topic chief analyst, described today’s NGA numbers as "quite modest" given the rapid take up of broadband connections in the past 10 years.
"We went on from there to reach over 13 million broadband lines within five years. Now we have over 19 million," he said.
"It’s dangerous just to assume that history will repeat itself, but it’s still a good pointer to what will happen to superfast broadband in this decade.”
The analyst’s current estimates are based on figures for the end of 2010, which showed 175,000 superfast broadband lines in use.
BT said earlier this month that it will extend NGA-speed broadband to over 1.5 million homes and businesses, but the analyst found that Virgin Media currently leads the rollout efforts with 118,000 customers signed up to its 50Mbit/s cable broadband service.
The remaining 57,000 or so are getting superfast broadband over telecoms infrastructure owned by BT and alternative network operators.
Today’s announcement is based on projecting these figures and allowing for some increase in growth, which suggests that there were about 236,000 superfast lines at the end of March.
“At that rate we should pass the 250,000 milestone sometime between now and the end of April,” said Johnson.
Virgin Media is providing its NGA access using the Docsis 3 broadband standard over co-axial cable. As of the end of 2010, another 3,700 superfast end users had fibre-to-the-premises installed, giving them up to 100Mbit/s download speeds.
The remaining 53,000 had fibre-to-the-cabinet connections with very high-speed DSL over the last few hundred metres of the telephone line to their homes.
The recent Budget may also help accelerate superfast broadband rollouts after chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to create 21 regional enterprise zones that will offer superfast broadband connections and reduced businesses rates.
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