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More than one million new customers have signed up for broadband deals in the UK over the past year.

According to new figures published by the Broadband Forum, the nation's broadband population stood at 17.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 2009, up from 16.3 million at the same point in time a year earlier.

The increase was enough for the UK to maintain its position as one of the world's largest markets for broadband internet although it was overtaken by France, which saw its online population exceed 18 million this year.

Interestingly, the research, which was carried out by Point Topic, indicated that western Europe is the world's largest broadband market, with IPTV services being identified as a strong driver for growth right across the continent.

The data suggested that there are now over 429.2 million broadband lines in the world, nearly two thirds of which (64.6 per cent) are DSL.

Some 20.6 per cent of global connections are cable broadband, 12.4 per cent are fibre-optic in nature and 1.3 per cent are mobile.

The government's newly-released Digital Britain report has highlighted proposals for a range of measures and £200 million of funding to encourage the universal uptake of broadband in the UK.

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