During the first quarter of this year, the number of broadband customers in Portugal increased by 100 thousand reaching a total of 1.312 million. This represents an 8.2% increase compared to the last quarter of 2005 and a year-on-year increase of 38.2%.
By the end of March the penetration rate, measuring the total number of customers compared to the total population, reached 12.5%, as opposed to 9% at the same time last year.
The number of customers accessing the Internet through ADSL rose by 10.2% in the quarter, reaching 769 thousand, while the number of customers using cable modems totaled 540 thousand, an increase of 5.6% compared to the previous quarter. At the same time the number of customers with dedicated access remained below 3 thousand.
During the first quarter, the predominance of ADSL grew with 71.2% of new broadband customers opting for ADSL and 58.6% of all broadband access being ADSL.
In the residential segment, there were 1.085 million residential customers with broadband access, 82.7% of the total, and ADSL continued to be the first choice for Internet access in the segment. By the end of the quarter, there were 559 thousand ADSL customers and 526 thousand cable modem customers, giving a respective share of 51.5% and 48.5%.
In the non-residential segment, there were 227 thousand broadband customers at the end of March, 7.5% up on the previous quarter and 44.4% up on the same quarter of the previous year. ADSL is also the preferred means of accessing the Internet in this sector with 210 thousand customers having ADSL access, 14 thousand using cable modem and 2,900 customers getting access through dedicated circuits.
PT Group's share of broadband customers fell in the first quarter by 3.5% compared to the previous quarter to 73.5%, while year-on-year PT group's share fell by 8.1%. In ADSL, PT Group held a 79.8% share, while the share going to new operators increased by 4.1% over the quarter to 20.2%. The growing share of the new operators in ADSL is explained by the growing number of unbundled loops and improved local loop unbundling (LLU) conditions, as well as by a drive by operators to reach customers directly and with a package that includes voice services.
PT Group's share of customers using cable modem also fell, dropping 3.1% over the quarter to 64.7%.
During the quarter, out of every ten new broadband customers only three signed up to PT Group's services. As a result the alternative broadband operators saw their share grow to 69%.
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