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Demon has almost doubled the number of broadband punters over the last six months to more than 20,000 users. The ISP of telecoms outfit, Thus, said the growth had come "despite strong competition in the SME market".

Indeed, if a survey published last week is anything to go by, then Thus is likely to find that the SME market will remain competitive for some time to come.

For while nine out of ten companies rate broadband as an important issue for business, half want some kind of tax break to help offset the cost. So, it seems that there are punters out there - as long as the price is right.

In a trading update published today Thus confirmed it was on track to make some cash by the end of March. It has raised its EBITDA (earnings before interest etc) forecast to between £25m and £30m for the year, up from £20m-30m. Revenue for the full year is expected to be between £290m and £295m.

However, Thus warns of "market turbulence" and is still "cautious on the general economic outlook and the sector is experiencing pricing pressure led by distressed operators".

By mid morning shares in Thus were up 0.6p (7 per cent) at 8.75p. ®

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