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UK tops EU5 for internet usage, claims Ofcom report

But superfast broadband penetration is only at 65 percent

The UK has the highest rate of internet usage in the EU5, with 81 percent of individuals regularly going online, according to Ofcom's European Broadband Scorecard, published today.

The European Broadband Scorecard measures the coverage, take-up, usage, price and choice of fixed and mobile broadband services in the UK, relative to the European Union's other four leading economies - France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

It was proposed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to allow the government to measure progress towards its ambition of having the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

The Scorecard reveals that the UK generally performs well among major European economies. Besides having the highest percentage of regular internet users, it also benefits from highly competitive broadband markets.

The proportion of fixed lines operated by the incumbent (BT, with 31 percent) is the lowest in the EU5, while the market share of the largest mobile operator (EE, with 33 percent) is the joint lowest, according to Ofcom.

The UK has approximately the same fixed broadband take-up as France and Germany, at 32 connections per 100 people. Take-up in these three markets is considerably higher than in Italy and Spain.

The UK also comes second for mobile broadband take-up, with 64 connections per 100 people.

Meanwhile, the UK has some of the lowest fixed and mobile broadband prices. When assessing various measures of price, the UK leads the EU5 in eight metrics out of twelve.

The only area where the UK is slightly lagging is in superfast broadband coverage, where it comes third after Germany and Spain, but ahead of Italy and France. In June 2012, the percentage of people with superfast coverage (at least 24Mbps) had reached 65 percent of UK premises.

However, Ofcom claims that coverage and take-up of superfast broadband has increased in the UK since much of the data was collected. Operators are currently accelerating fibre roll-out, cable broadband speeds are increasing and the government continues to provide funding for rural broadband.

Future Scorecards will be published as part of Ofcom's annual International Communications Market Report.

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