Opinion

Guess who's fiddling the broadband statistics

BT has today reported that fifteen million homes and SMEs are accessing broadband over its network, saying that from a base of 200,000 connections in 2002, it has now added an impressive 14.8 million connections in eight years, or 5,000 new connections a day.

When figures from rival Virgin Media are taken into account, there are over 19 million premises using broadband in the UK. That's about 71% of UK households, up from 35% in 2005 and incredibly, higher than in France, Germany and the USA.

But the incumbent is actually being very cheeky here. While it says it has "more than five million" connections through BT Retail - the rest of the 15 million are "via other companies who benefit from equivalent access to the BT network", the telco said in its press statement today.

Now, excuse me one second, that means that BT is effectively claiming customers of ISPs using unbundled exchanges, such as TalkTalk and the like.

Those are customers of ISPs who I doubt consider themselves BT customers.

So while the essence of BT's claim that 15 million homes and SMEs are accessing broadband over its network is truthful, the facts are being fudged. Again.

It's great that broadband is seeing such widespread adoption and great that BT is investing so heavily in fibre to extend its reach even further, but come on, guys, if you can't tell us the truth about broadband speeds, why do you expect us to believe these statistics?

This was first published in August 2010

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