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UK broadband providers are rolling out fibre broadband networks at a faster pace than their European rivals, it has been reported.

According to Ofcom, overall availability of high-speed fixed-line broadband networks in the UK compares favourably to other European countries.

The media regulator explained that by June 2011, 59 per cent of households had access to Virgin Media or BT's super-fast services.

BT is in the process of investing £2.5 billion in its UK telecoms infrastructure, and aims to deliver fibre broadband to two-thirds of the country by 2014.

And Virgin Media, which has been rolling out fibre broadband since December 2010, is currently able to supply super-fast internet services to one-third of UK homes.

However, relatively few households have signed up to fibre broadband services to date - just four per cent of UK households.

By contrast, 40 per cent of Japanese homes and ten per cent of those in the US already have a fibre broadband deal.

On the positive side, the UK's penetration rate is higher than those in Germany (three per cent), Italy (1.5 per cent) and Spain (2.2 per cent).

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, commented: "Pit Britain against the rest of Europe and Ofcom's survey results cast UK communications in a decidedly positive light, in terms of both access to and our use of the technology available to us.

"We're streets ahead in terms of super-fast broadband connections - though it's telling that take up is extremely low. For many, super-ft broadband is simply an unnecessary expense."

Looking forward, Ofcom said the launch of long-term evolution (LTE) broadband services should further increase access to super-fast broadband in the UK.

Households will gain access to next-generation mobile broadband services once Ofcom has auctioned off 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz radio spectrum.

"Some countries, such as Sweden, have already launched LTE networks, with headline speeds of up to 100Mb," Ofcom explained.

"Services in the UK are expected to launch in 2013 following the 4G spectrum auction in the second half of 2012."

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