UPDATED: UK consumers aren't cozying up to higher speed broadband

For all of the promise that BT (NYSE: BT) and its competitive carrier customers believe they can bring with its Fiber to the X drive, the reality is that most consumers aren't exactly signing up in droves.

A new report from Ofcom, UK's telecom regulator revealed that even though "superfast" broadband connections were available to 57 percent of U.K. households as of June 2011, only about 4 percent actually had subscribed to the superfast services.

Whether it's delivered over fiber, HFC or copper, Ofcom defines superfast broadband as a service capable of delivering download speeds greater than 25 Mbps.

"In some nations, such as the U.K., only a small proportion of consumers take superfast services even where they are available," Ofcom's report said. "While in Sweden, Russia, and Japan more than a third of households covered by superfast services subscribe to them."

Despite Ofcom's findings, BT's CEO Ian Livingston said during its Q2 2011 half year results call that the telco is seeing an uptick in subscriber interest.  

"The take up of fibre broadband continues to be very encouraging," he said. "More than 300,000 premises are now using the service and we have doubled the size of our customer base in the last six months."

One of the main reasons why the U.K. is seeing lackluster takeup for higher speed broadband is that it's too expensive. Consumers who sign up for Virgin Media's (Nasdaq: VMED) up to 50 Mbps HFC-based offering, for example, will have to shell out £25 per month ($39)--almost twice the price of the £13.50 ($21.00) it charges for its 10 Mbps service.

For more:
- Total Telecom has this article

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