UK Broadband Market

20 July 2010

This note provides an update on the state of the UK broadband market at the end of the summer. The number of broadband users in the UK is rising fast, but much of this growth has arisen from the introduction of NTL's 128k product. 128k is not usually considered a data speed consistent with the term 'broadband'. However, ISPs should note the level of interest in this product and its highly competitive price point (£14.99). We continue to say that to be a product of appeal to the majority of Internet users, broadband has to be priced at no more than £20 per month. We also look briefly at options facing non-BT ISPs and suggest that the best strategy may be to launch a broadband product but only make it available to those that ask for it, rather than actively promoting it.

Those that defend E4 and ventures like it point to the importance of programmes like Big Brother, which was hugely successful on the satellite service. We try to demonstrate that even this undoubted success brought little financial benefit to E4. Big Brother, broadcast day and night on E4 over the summer, generated about half of E4’s total viewing for 2002. Nevertheless, it probably brought in no more than £8m advertising revenue, not enough to cover two months costs of running E4. The competition for the 18-34 audience on satellite is beginning to become acute. The best thing for Channel 4 to do would be to close E4, blaming government for allowing the BBC to sink £100m a year into programming a similar, but publicly funded service.

Recent reports