Is Britain's broadband lagging behind Europe?

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New research suggests that, whilst Britons are taking up broadband en masse, the speeds they’re achieving lag behind those available in Europe. This in turn is limiting what people do online.

Jupiter Research predicts that by Christmas, 75% of us will be using broadband, many of whom will find it a nearly indispensable tool.

Applications that require high-speed access such as streaming video are having only moderate impact, with a predicted 10% of households regularly involved in them.

Start drooling. Where we’re lucky to hit a speed of 8Mbps, with many more on slower speeds because that can’t be reached, with a top speed of 24Mbps from a few select providers, users in France routinely get 24Mbps speeds as standard.

As more providers come into the broadband marketplace, the war tends to be on price rather than speed. Much of this is because those providers who rely on BT cannot offer more than 8Mbps maximum speed. Even most of the cable companies are only offering these kind of speeds.

Quality of the network service is also extremely important – there’s no point have a broadband of any speed if it’s not working half the time.

BT is set to roll out broadband based on ADSL2 technology, which offers theoretical maximum speed of 24Mbps, sometime in 2007. Also, Local Loop Unbundling should improve competition.

There’s also vast fluctuation between speeds available to the urban and more rural areas.

So, are we hard-done by in Britain when it comes to broadband?

Andy Merrett