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A new study has shown that the total number of broadband connections across the UK has now hit close to 17.6 million.

The data in the Ofcom Telecommunications Market Data Tables shows there was a 1.6 per cent increase in home and business broadband connections at the end of the first quarter of 2009 compared to the final three months in 2008.

According to the figures, BT Retail was the top broadband provider, with its cables used for 4.6 million connections, followed by other DSL providers accounting for 3.4 million.

BT's overall market share was found to have fallen by 0.1 per cent to 26.4 per cent at the end of March 2009 compared to the same time the previous year.

Virgin Media's cables were shown to account for 3.7 million broadband connections.

Recent data in the government's National Statistic Omnibus Survey showed that broadband accounted for 90 per cent of all the UK internet connections in 2009.

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