UK broadband growth is slowing down; only about 200,000 households signed up for new subscriptions in the last quarter of 2008, less than half that had been forecast. According to Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, numbers were expected to be down, but not by that much.

BT Wholesale and its resellers together lost about 300,000 household broadband subscribers. ISPs using local loop unbundling to provide broadband services, including Carphone Warehouse, Sky, Tiscali and Orange, did a bit better and added nearly 430,000 households among them, according to Point Topic.

Broadband will continue to slowly grow, but increasing overall Internet penetration will be a bigger challenge. Currently, broadband growth mostly comes from households moving from dial-up Internet connections. Overall Internet growth has come to a halt, however, and 9 million homes are still without access.

Bringing the Internet to homes and businesses that are completely without access would be a good choice, if the UK government wants to spend money to stimulate economic growth, Johnson said.