- 8 May 09, 16:37 GMT
In Britain's broadband league, there's a new number one - or is there?
Carphone Warehouse claims that its takeover of Tiscali gives it more residential customers than any other internet service provider, with BT now in second place and Virgin Media third.
So, having only got into the business three years ago with its TalkTalk service, the purchase of first AOL, and then of Tiscali has made it the biggest noise in UK broadband.
BT disputes that claim - it says it has 4.7 million broadband customers to Carphone Warehouse's 4.3 million. But Carphone says some of those customers (BT won't say how many) are businesses, so it's confident it's the leader in the residential market.
If I were BT, I wouldn't be fighting for that number one spot, nor would I be as keen as Charles Dunstone of Carphone is to claim it. Why?
Because being number one means, as BT has found to its cost, that the spotlight is shining right at you when it comes to all those tricky questions about the future of "Broadband Britain".
First, there's the issue of customer service. If you're the biggest player, you're also likely to have the most complaints - and you need to show how well you can deal with them.
TalkTalk certainly had its issues with customer service in the early days - it claims those are largely resolved - but now it's taking on 1.7 million users who may put an awful lot of strain on its call centres.
Tiscali's dealings with its customers - and I should declare an interest as one who left in despair and even then struggled to escape their clutches - makes TalkTalk's service seem like a combination of Rolls Royce and the Orient Express.
Second, the regulator, the government, and the creative industries will now be looking more closely at Carphone as the biggest representative of the broadband industry which is at the centre of the upcoming Digital Britain report.
The Universal Service Obligation - bringing 2mbps broadband to every corner of the country - was seen as mainly an issue for BT. Now Carphone may have to help find a solution.
Then there's the pressure on ISPs from the creative industries to do more in the battle against illegal file-sharing. Until now, Charles Dunstone has been extremely combative on this issue declaring that he wasn't going to be the internet's policeman, whatever music companies or ministers might say. And judging by my interview with him today - you can listen below - he's not about to change his tune.
And finally there's the Phorm question. Carphone is one of three ISPs to have held talks with the controversial behavioural advertising firm - but it's BT which has copped most of the flak. Charles Dunstone was still stressing today that Carphone hadn't even tested Phorm yet. But the broadband supply business runs on pretty thin profit margins, so Mr Dunstone is going to have to look at every possible means to find new revenue streams, and behavioural advertising is one obvious answer.
So congratulations to Carphone Warehouse - even if your position at the top of the table is disputed. But be aware that every broadband user, politician, regulator, privacy campaigner and music business will now be on your case. Enjoy!
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites