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Take-up of broadband internet lines across Europe has increased by 16 per cent over the last six months to March, new figures have revealed.

According to figures from the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) there are now some 84 million homes with broadband connections in the EU.

Just six months earlier, the figure stood at 75 million.

The ECTA published the figures in a study which called for greater competition among broadband providers.

A statement from the organisation said: "Success in many of the high ranking countries in Europe can be attributed partly to local loop unbundling, the process whereby competitors rent the last mile from the national telecoms incumbent and offer their own broadband services to consumers."

In particular the ECTA is lobbying for the EU to empower national regulators to split networks and services divisions of providers.

The ECTA report follows remarks from EU media commissioner Viviane Reding that the split of BT's divisions in place in the UK could provide a template for more competitive broadband service models across the EU.

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