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Broadband to get 46 million more users? Pull the other one

Survey says: millions more will access high speed internet by end of year, we say: not likely

More than 46 million people worldwide are predicted to sign up to broadband services by the end of this year, according to a report published today by technology analysts at In-Stat

"Broadband access technologies continue to make substantial gains in the market place, both in the US and worldwide," said the report.

But In-Stat's estimate seems extremely optimistic and would mean around 16 million new subscribers would need to be found within the next five months. Given the difficulties surrounding the rollout of this technology, this eems unlikely.

The report also predicts ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) will become the most popular technology for delivering broadband service. But in the US cable modem subscribers still outnumber their ADSL counterparts while the UK's current ADSL infrastructure simply could not support such a major increase in take-up.

"BT is rolling out broadband faster than ever with around 12,000 people per week signing up for new services," said a Department of Trade and Industry spokesman. "Broadband providers are also focusing their energy on creating broadband content which will attract even more subscribers."

BT has only enabled a little over 1,100 telephone exchanges since this time last year, making In-Stat's predictions for ADSL take-up sound wildly overoptimistic.

What's more, PC Advisor readers are split almost 50:50 on their preferred technology. Perhaps BT's snail's pace in creating DSL-enabled exchanges has put many off this method, which is why there is renewed interest in cable broadband access.

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