Online advertisers and marketers in the UK are enjoying a surfeit of pre-Christmas cheer as a new report reveals significant rises in the number of people surfing the web.

Researcher Nielsen/NetRatings says internet access from home has jumped by 15% over the year, up to 23 million users, with more half now wired into high-speed connections.

Broadband or similar is used by an estimated 11.5 million households in the UK, compared with 5.3m a year ago.

Nielsen says advertisers are increasingly investing their marketing budgets in music, video and software download sites.

WinMX, Winamp, MiniClip, CNET and Ebuyer have more than 80% of their users with broadband or better connections. Other major brands making the top 15 sites include BSkyB, HMV and

Says analyst Gabrielle Prior: "As the number of high-speed surfers grows in the UK, websites will need to adapt, update and enhance their content to retain their visitors and encourage new ones. In the future, websites will be 'sped' out of the market, not 'priced out'."

Data sourced from Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff