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A new European Commission report has found that the number of people with internet access has reached 250 million.

The annual ICT progress report finds that of this number, around 80 per cent are using broadband services to get online, with the majority of schools and health services in the 27 member states using high-speed connections.

Britain is identified as a top performer in the provision of broadband, with more than 14.5 million people said to have a fixed-line connection - a figure which amounts to over a quarter of the population

"It is a welcome change of political direction that today, ICT, the main driver of European growth, is being promoted by all 27 EU member states in their national policies," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for information society and media.

Average download speeds in the UK were said to be between 1 and 2 Mbps, while its internet usage statistics suggest more Britons are using broadband for internet telephony, online gaming and downloading music.

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