The UK is ahead of only China in the uptake of broadband internet services, according to a new study by web measurement firm NetValue.

With a meagre 3% of its households subscribing to broadband services, Britain is level with Spain and ahead of the Chinese, but lags all eight of the other countries in the survey – Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, the US, France, Denmark and Germany.

The clear winner, with over half of all households having a high-speed connection, was Korea, where the most popular use for broadband is online gaming. Meanwhile, France emerged victorious in Europe, with broadband subscribers in 6% of households.

The US came second in the table with a figure of 11%. Within this group, the under-14s have become the fastest growing age group, making up 9.1% of all broadband users. There is also a gender gap within the US – 60% of high-speed subscribers are male, whereas men make up only 55% of total web users.

The UK’s failure to keep up has been blamed on the cost of broadband – telecoms watchdog Oftel recently discovered that high-speed services are more expensive in Britain than in France, the US or Germany. There have also been accusations that high investment costs are deterring operating companies from setting up broadband services.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)