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Superfast broadband uptake in UK lags European rivals

05 Mar 2013

The uptake of superfast broadband services in the UK is significantly behind European counterparts, according to new research by Ofcom commissioned by the government.

The European Broadband Scorecard is designed to assess the state of the nation's fixed and mobile broadband usage, compared its major economic rivals Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as the wider European market.

The UK is ranked the seventh lowest nation of the 27 European states measured, behind the likes of Hungary, Bulgaria and Lativa for superfast connections per 100 people.

Only France and Italy fare worse than the UK of the other major nations ranked in the table (see table below).

Figures showing uptake of superfast broadband in UK

However, the UK fares much better with regard overall take up of broadband with 32 connections per 100 people, placing it eight, only just behind France and Germany. Denmark and Netherlands lead the way for connections (see below).

Overall takeup of broadband in UK market

Mobile broadband take up is also high in the UK, with 64 connections per 100 people, placing the UK sixth in the overall European market, and ahead of rivals Germany, France and Italy. Spain just pips the UK with 65 connections per 100 (see below).

Mobile broadband connections in the UK

The UK also has one of the lowest numbers of people who have not used the internet, at just 11 percent of the population, and one of the highest numbers for those that use the internet on a weekly basis (see below).

Numbers of people accessing the internet

Commenting on the findings at a conference on Tuesday, internet minister Ed Vaizey said it showed there was a strong appetite for broadband in the UK and that the market was serving consumer requirements.

"Ofcom's European scorecard shows that the UK currently benefits from low prices and a high degree of competition in the broadband market, and that the UK has the best deals available for consumers across a selection of pricing bundles in the major European economies," he said.

The figures on high speed services from Ofcom are similar to those from the Fibre to The Home (FFTH) Council Europe unveiled last year, which placed the UK at the bottom of the European broadband speed leagues.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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