British consumers are rapidly adopting digital services and formats, media regulator Ofcom concludes in its inaugural Communications Market study.

British consumers are rapidly adopting digital services and formats, media regulator Ofcom concludes in its inaugural Communications Market study.

"The United Kingdom is going digital," the report says. "Analog radio, television and fixed line telephony have been almost universally available for some time -- but over the past five years, the coverage of digital services has increased; the number of digital services has proliferated. These two factors have led to rapid substitution by consumers of digital services for analog."

Ofcom illustrates the shift among U.K. consumers toward cellular phones from fixed-line phones. Total fixed call and access revenues fell 3.6% to £11.1 billion ($20.4 billion) in 2003, while mobile revenues grew 16.3% to £10.7 billion ($19.6 billion). In the first quarter of 2004, 15.4% of the 15-24 demographic had listened to music on a cell phone, vs. 12.6% in the corresponding period the previous year. In the adult age group, 4.5% had listened to music during the first quarter, vs. 4% in Q1 2003.

According to the report, 29% of adults were found to have listened to music via the TV in the first quarter of 2004, vs. 27% in the previous quarter and 20% in the corresponding period last year.

The report claims that 53% of British households now have at least one digitally enabled television set in their home, while digital radio is available to more than 85% of the U.K. population. Broadband services are currently available to 88.7% of households, and adoption is “growing rapidly” says Ofcom.

Ofcom says it plans to publish a Communications Market study each year in May.

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