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Broadband providers O2 and Be Broadband lost fewer fixed internet subscribers during the first three months of 2012, it has been reported.

According to figures published by Telefonica UK - which owns the broadband providers - the combined user base stood at 617,800 at the end of March.

This represented a 2,500 fall on the previous quarter.

However, the rate of decline slowed during Q1 2012, as O2 and Be Broadband lost a combined 5,000 customers between them in the final three months of 2011.

Q3 2011 was an even worse quarter for the broadband providers, with a net 27,600 customers switching to alternative providers.

The lack of a fibre-optic option for UK customers seeking super-fast broadband speeds may have contributed to attrition levels in recent months.

But in a statement, Telefonica UK said it had continued to regain commercial momentum in "a very competitive marketplace" during the first three months of 2012.

This led to a "significant increase" in commercial activity resulting in the highest quarterly contract net additions since 2010.

"As a result, the total access base grew one per cent to stand at 23.3 million at the end of March 2012, on the back of stable mobile base and positive fixed telephony growth which compensated a year-on-year decline in retail broadband fixed internet accesses," the firm stated.

Group revenues totalled 1,719 million euros (£1,377 million) in the three months to March 2012, the firm revealed.

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