Big Six tighten grip on UK broadband

Big Six tighten grip on UK broadband

Major players putting the squeeze on smaller ISPs

The UK broadband market was characterised by consolidation and growth during the second quarter of 2007, according to new research.

Point Topic said today that the 'Big Six' broadband providers (BT, Virgin Media, Carphone Warehouse, Tiscali, Orange and Sky) covered 94 per cent of the retail broadband market.

The analyst firm noted that the figures provide a "salutary lesson" in the wake of changes intended to intensify competition, notably the creation of BT Openreach and unleashing the unbundling market.

Point Topic's estimates actually point to a "sharp increase" in market concentration and even a small gain in the incumbents' market share.

Virgin Media and Orange were the biggest losers among the big players, but it was the smaller ISPs, including Pipex, which really suffered, losing a two per cent market share in the quarter between them.

Point Topic suggested that the total number of internet access households is growing "only slowly, if at all".

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