Britain leads Europe on Internet use, and is cheapest too

More Britons use the Web than other major European countries, and at the cheapest prices -- but we fall behind in one important area.

Huzzah for Blighty! Proud Britons thrash the major European countries for the number of people using the Internet, and at some of the cheapest prices too. But we fall behind the continentals when it comes to superfast broadband, dash it all.

New figures from Ofcom rank Britain against what it calls the EU5 -- not a boyband, but France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The good news is that we're in the top 3 in every category. Huzzah again!

Ofcom put together the European Broadband Scorecard to measure broadband coverage, the number of people using it, how they use it, how much it costs and whether there's a decent choice of fixed and mobile broadband.

In the UK, 81 per cent of the population uses the Internet. And we're second only to Spain for connecting to the Web with our phones and tablets, a number set to climb as more 4G networks join the first LTE network, EE.

The UK also leads the way in eight out of twelve factors for measuring price, leaving us more money for apple crumbles and warm bitter and other quintessentially British treats. Huzzah the third!

Superfast slowdown 

But hold hard on the jollification, old bean: Germany and Spain have better superfast broadband than us, with extra-fast connections reaching 65 per cent of UK homes and businesses. That'll change in coming years too: the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will use the annual scorecard to monitor progress towards the government promise that we'll have the best superfast broadband network of any major European country by 2015.

Meanwhile broadband expert Marie-Louise Abretti at comparison site uSwitch notes that, "Worryingly, the government's emphasis on rolling out super-fast broadband has overshadowed the fact that there are still coverage blackspots across Britain, where speeds are patchy or excruciatingly sluggish."

Do we lead the way in broadband or have we fallen behind other countries? Can the government and Internet service providers really soup up our superfast networks? Is fixed-line or 4G the future? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

For more on this year's cutting-edge phones, tablets and other cool stuff, check out our in-depth coverage of MWC.


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