Consolidation and growth in the UK broadband market

Consolidation and growth characterised the British broadband market over the second quarter of 2007.

The 'Big Six' (BT, Virgin Media, Carphone Warehouse, Tiscali, Orange and Sky) managed to cover 94% of the retail broadband market.

Virgin Media, and Orange are the losers among the big players, but it was the smaller ISPs, including Pipex, which really suffered, losing a 2% market share in the quarter between them.

Consolidation continues apace. It is a salutary lesson for policy that measures intended to intensify competition, notably the creation of BT Openreach and unleashing the unbundling market, should lead to a sharp increase in market concentration and even a small gain in the incumbent's market share.

Point Topic's assessment is that the total number of internet access households is growing only slowly, if at all.

Future results may show that our view is pessimistic, but clearly the market is not growing at anything like the pace which we saw in the past.

"With lower than expected customer numbers just released by Carphone Warehouse for Q3 it will be interesting to see what the other ISPs report for this quarter," said Tim Johnson, Chief Analyst at Point Topic.