Run for your life: the UK's economic and social progress is in jeopardy because laggards are sticking to dialup or, worse, no internet at all.

Internet monitors at Point Topic said that only 470,000 households signed up for broadband between July and September, down from 510,000 between April and June. And Point Topic suggests that upcoming broadband uptake figures from BT and Virgin Media will be disappointing.

And Point Topic is worried that this slow down could further exaggerate the digital divide in the UK. This would have significant economic and social consequences.

Virgin Media will announce the results for the third quarter of 2007 tomorrow, while BT will make a similar statement on Thursday. The number of broadband lines in the UK stands at just under 15 million. BT has four million broadband subscribers and Virgin Media around 3.5 million. Visit our Broadband Advisor website for the latest internet news and reviews.

"The reason for the drop is largely the shrinking size of the remaining pool of dialup users," says Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic.

"Not only are there fewer of them but the ones that are left are also more resistant to change. On top of that, the industry has been failing to bring enough new homes online," Johnson continued.

"We believe this sends a danger signal for broadband Britain. With almost 40 percent of British households on the wrong side of the digital divide the social and economic progress of the UK will be stalled unless the great majority of these homes can be brought on to the internet," said Johnson.