BT claims to have become the first UK broadband supplier to have over four million customers sign up to its service.

In June 2002 BT had 172,000 broadband customers. But by reaching four million over the next five years, the ISP says on average a new customer joined every 40 seconds. One million people signed up over the past 12 months alone.

BT also said that of the 15 million connections in the UK, approximately 11.5 million are running over the BT network with the rest being carried via Virgin's cable network. The rise in connections means the UK is ahead of Japan, France, Germany and the US, with only Canada leading in terms of broadband penetration.

Ian Livingston, BT Retail chief executive said, “Four million customers is a great achievement in such a short time. Broadband has proved to be one of the most popular new services ever seen. It is already delivering next generation television, inclusive free phone calls in High Definition sound and great value mobile calls. Broadband can provide so many more services than just internet surfing and it has become central to many people’s lives and businesses.”