The UK is ahead of the European Union average for fixed and mobile broadband access and take up in the business and consumer sectors, according to figures published by the European Commission.
The Digital Agenda Scoreboard, launched to show the EC's progress at meeting 13 key goals in the Digital Agenda for Europe strategy, shows that the UK has 32 fixed broadband lines per 100 people compared to an EU average of 27.
Similarly, 3G coverage extends to 95 per cent of the population compared to an EU average of 89.9 per cent, while 87.3 per cent of all businesses have a fixed broadband connection compared to an EU average of 84.1.
The UK government also comes out of the report with some positives. Forty per cent of the UK's online population interact with public authorities through online channels, compared with 31.7 per cent at an EU level.
However, the government performed poorly at providing an online access point for the tendering of contracts. Only 10.7 per cent of firms use the web to submit tenders in the UK compared to 12.5 per cent in the EU.
UK consumers are also more switched on to the benefits of online services such as banking, accessing news and content and job hunting than their EU counterparts.
The Digital Agenda Scoreboard (PDF) shows that, while Europe is close to providing universal broadband by 2013, other targets, such as reducing roaming to national levels or getting a third of all SMEs selling goods online by 2015, are a long way off (see image on page 2).
Neelie Kroes, vice president for the Digital Agenda, unveiled the scoreboard in Brussels on Tuesday, and used the plight of the final few per cent without broadband to urge member states to think beyond fibre.
"The 10 million unserved households are those that have proved the most difficult and expensive rural and isolated areas to cover. The solution of wired networks, which works well for the majority, may become prohibitively expensive there," she said.
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