Half of all UK homes have internet access and around one million internet users are planning to upgrade to broadband over the next year, according to new figures released by Oftel.
Research by the telecoms watchdog found that 12.5 million households are now online, with 750,000 new web users signing up over the last three months. And many will be tempted to ditch dial-up for broadband as it becomes cheaper.
Prices for residential broadband are already below the European average, and the UK offers a wider availability of unmetered services than other countries surveyed, according to Oftel.
David Edmonds, the watchdog's director general of telecoms, said: "Growth in internet access, coupled with some of the lowest prices in Europe, is excellent news. Oftel's policy of creating competitive markets for internet access continues to drive the growth of internet access."
According to the research, the UK has enjoyed stronger broadband growth than both France and Germany, and over 90 per cent of internet customers are happy with their overall service.
However, Oftel has lowered its specification of a broadband service, classing it as a service which is above 56Kbps, always on and can handle a telephone call while connected to the internet.
The narrowest bandwidth currently marketed as broadband is 150Kbps, from ISP Tiscali and cable operator NTL.
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