Ancient rivalries between Albion and Gaul were awakened over the holidays as the UK press exultantly proclaimed that British Bulldogs now outnumber French Frogs when it comes to surfing the net via broadband connections.

It's a close run race. According to broadband industry analyst Point Topic, current data suggests that as of New Year's Day 2006 the UK boasts 9.8 million broadband lines, while France has 9.7 million.

UK broadband users overtook their French counterparts by a whisker in 2005, adding 2.8m DSL connections in the first nine months compared to 2.2m in France.

That trend looks set to continue as rival service providers gain access to "unbundled" local telephone lines from BT, bringing increased competition and investment

However, Anglo-French rivalries are strictly minor-league stuff compared to the global leaders. The USA continues to dwarf all comers with more than 40.9 million broadband lines, with Red China closing fast at 35m connections. In third and fourth positions are Japan and South Korea.

To access Point Topic's latest broadband White Paper click here.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff