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Sky's broadband base will continue to grow rapidly over the coming years, a new report has claimed.

IHS iSuppli noted that the satellite TV and broadband provider accounted for more than half of net subscriber additions in the UK last year - 51 per cent of new customers.

This compared to the 47 per cent of new additions claimed by BT, which launched ultra-fast fibre broadband deals and continues to expand its coverage.

Sky actually trailed BT in terms of new additions at the start of 2011, but the firm had pulled "decisively ahead" by the end of the year.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Sky claimed 68 per cent of net broadband additions, compared to 45 per cent for BT - pointing to accelerating subscriber growth.

According to IHS iSuppli, this is being fuelled by Sky's large established business in television, which represents "a major subscriber base that potentially also can be added as broadband customers".

Jon Payne, broadband analyst for IHS, explained that Sky currently has 9.6 million television subscribers in the UK, of which only 40 per cent are currently triple-play customers.

"This leaves 6.5 million customers to which Sky could offer broadband services," he stated.

"Consequently, there remains a huge opportunity for Sky to upsell its large and growing pay-TV subscriber base to broadband and telephony packages, as seen in Q1 2012, during which Sky added a further 212,000 new broadband customers.”

Mr Payne said he expects BT and Sky to continue to fight for new customers over the coming months and years.

“With both Sky and BT now offering value-add services with Wi-Fi hotspots since April, we expect the two outfits to dominate the broadband market through the rest of 2012,” he said.

However, Mr Payne suggested that Sky must overcome consumer inertia to persuade its remaining subscribers to sign up.

"In particular, non-monetary issues remain a barrier in Sky’s attempts to convince subscribers to switch from the broadband services of other providers," he said.

"Concerns surrounding both the monetary and time costs of switching internet service providers are playing into its rivals’ favour."

But nonetheless, he said Sky is "extremely well-positioned" in the notoriously competitive UK retail broadband market.

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