UK above EU broadband averages

UK above EU broadband averages

The UK is above the EU average for broadband coverage thanks to a huge hike in the number of 4G customers during 2013, new figures have shown.

Official figures found that the number of British households with 4G coverage increased from 17 per cent at the end of 2012 to 63 per in 2013.

But despite that figure exceeding the European average of 59 per cent, the European Commission (EC) has claimed that more can still be done.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, said: “Most Europeans now live digital lives and they are hungry for more. We have solved the Internet access problem.

“But the digital skills gap persists. Unless we all do more, we will face a digitally illiterate underclass in Europe.”

The EC said that one area the UK still needs to strengthen is the connectivity of more rural areas, small and medium-sized businesses and and eGovernment services.

Of the 101 targets initially outlined by the EC, it is on track to meet 95, claiming that there has been a rise in internet users from 60 per cent in 2010 to 72 per cent.

One of the main drivers behind the figures, according to the commission, has been a 16 per cent rise in disadvantaged users, such as the unemployed, and the elderly.

Yet in terms of use across Europe as a whole, there are still a large number of users that are not benefiting from the services that broadband coverage offers.

Around 20 per cent of Europeans are estimated to have never used the internet, despite 100 per cent of the population having access to broadband in some form.

The use of 4G has more than doubled from 26 per cent to 52 per cent in the past year, while 30Mbps fixed line broadband is now available to 62 per cent.

In the UK, the number of people benefitting from 4G coverage rose to 63 per cent, while 89 percent of Brits are now using mobile broadband services, compared to 62 per cent in Europe.