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BT today mounted a robust defence of Broadband Britain, trumpeting its "huge progress".

Not only is the UK the second largest broadband market in Europe, prices are among the most competitive in Europe, the monster telco said. Include widespread availability of ADSL and BT reckons it's playing a "key role (in the) success of Broadband Britain".

The comments come ahead of tomorrow's Trade and Industry Select Committee hearing into the progress of broadband in the UK.

On the issue of competition, BT will tell MPs that it has around half of the wholesale market for broadband, with cable competing for the other 50 per cent. At the retail level, it will tell MPs that it has a quarter of the market.

"This 25 per cent market share compares with an equivalent figure of over 90 per cent for Deutsche Telekom and well over 50 per cent for several other ex-incumbents across Europe," BT said in a statement.

"In fact, the highly competitive nature of the UK market is demonstrated by the fact that BT has the lowest share of the retail broadband market of any ex-incumbent. This degree of competition is absolutely unknown in most of Europe."

In light of its evidence, BT will say that making ADSL available to around 80 per cent of the UK population has not come cheaply. It will suggest that it should face a lighter regulatory approach - one that rewards the investment risk it insists it has had to take.

BT's decision to outline its case is unlikely to go unchallenged tomorrow when the likes of AOL UK and Freeserve get their chance to put forward their views on the progress of broadband in the UK. ®

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