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The number of global broadband connections increased by 17.4 million in the third quarter of 2011, it has been reported.

Research published by the Broadband Forum and analyst firm Point Topic revealed growth of 3.08 per cent over the final three months of the year.

At the end of December, there were a total of 581.3 million broadband connections worldwide, the report stated.

More broadband subscribers were added than in any quarter since early 2009, reports ISPreview.co.uk.

Robin Mersh, Chief Executive of the Broadband Forum, said the figures were "very healthy" for the industry.

"We are especially pleased to see the trend in fibre technologies beginning to take off," he stated.

Point Topic's CEO Oliver Johnson said consumers are showing signs of being ready to pay for faster connections.

This will come as good news to broadband providers such as BT and Virgin Media who are continuing to invest in super and ultra-fast fibre services.

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