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The number of broadband connections in Europe rose by 20 per cent in 2008, according to new research.

A study from the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) found that the number of connections now stands at 110.5 million – the equivalent of 22.5 per cent of Europe's population.

The EU Broadband Scorecard also showed that the number of subscribers in Britain made up 28.1 per cent of the population, rising from 24.9 per cent a year previously.

Innocenzo Genna, chairman of ECTA, used the publication of the figures to express his views on operators using the recession as an opportunity to push for the relaxing of regulation for their own benefit.

"Light touch regulation has not worked in the banking sector and there is no reason to assume it will work to consumers' benefit in telecoms," he said.

Concluding: "What is particularly disingenuous is that, at the same time, they are threatening governments and European politicians that they will not invest in next generation access unless there is a relaxation of competition rules that allow rivals to offer services over these networks."

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