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PlusNet doubled the number of broadband subscribers in 2004 as the Sheffield-based ISP notched up a "record" year.

At the end of December it had 89,825 high speed net users - up from 45,364 12 months earlier. Seven in ten of PlusNet's new broadband sign-ups were first time customers suggesting that PlusNet's aggressive pricing model is attracting punters.

And following the introduction of new processes last summer that make it easier for users to switch ISPs, PlusNet has witnessed a seven-fold increase in the number of migrations over the last year.

Not only are broadband numbers on the rise, PlusNet is also squeezing more cash out of each punter. The average revenue per user (ARPU) across its total customer base increased from £113 to £137 over the year even though the cost of broadband is falling.

The gross profit generated by each broadband punter also increased from £40 in 2003 to £44 last year.

Publishing prelims for the year PlusNet reported that turnover jumped 60 per cent to £27.8m compared to £17.4m in 2003. Operating profit before the exceptional costs of flotation on the AIM market in July increased 58 per cent to £2.9m.

Chief exec Lee Strafford said: "2004 has been a very significant year in the development of PlusNet. We have enjoyed record levels of growth in both customer numbers and operating profit before exceptional flotation costs and closed 2004 well positioned to take advantage of further developments in the broadband market.

"Given our strong market position and the investments made in the last year, the outlook for the business remains very positive."

Looking ahead, PlusNet intends to launch new products during the year and will continue to sniff around the market for possible acquisitions.

In early trading shares in PlusNet were down 4.5p (2.3 per cent) at 190.5p. ®

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