BT touts broadband growth as DSL makes headway in U.K.

British Telecommunications PLC (BT) said Monday that it has exceeded its target of signing up one million wholesale broadband connections by mid-2003, allowing it to speed rollout of new broadband exchanges.

The U.K. telecom company’s milestone underscores a larger trend of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband growth in the region, according to Jupiter Research European broadband analyst Ian Fogg, who said that his firm predicts that the U.K. DSL market will exceed cable broadband by 2004.

DSL has the advantage of numerous providers all marketing slightly different offerings, Fogg said, as well as new technologies that make it cheaper to convert exchanges and rollout new connections.

BT has said that new technologies that reduce exchange upgrade costs could allow it to rollout broadband access to 90 per cent of U.K. homes.

The telecom giant set aggressive broadband goals earlier this year, while announcing plans to cut fees for the service.

The company also said Monday that given its connection uptick it would lower its “trigger level,” or number of people who need to register their demand before BT upgrades an exchange, by up to 25 per cent across the U.K. The lowered threshold means that the company will immediately upgrade 69 new exchanges with broadband technology, BT said.

While BT has benefited from new upgrade technologies, cable broadband providers have had a harder time extending access, especially given that many cable providers are mired in financial woes, Fogg said.

“BT’s news is evidence that DSL is on track to take over cable in the U.K.,” said Fogg.