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Latest figures from Ofcom reveal that 19 in every 20 UK households can now take advantage of broadband services.

The communications regulator reports that the UK now has 95.3 per cent standard broadband coverage - 98.3 per cent in urban areas, 96.9 per cent in semi-rural areas and 80.1 per cent in the countryside.

England has slightly above average standard broadband coverage at 95.8 per cent, while in Scotland, the figure stands at 95.3 per cent - the overall UK mean.

At present, Wales (91.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (87.4 per cent) have below average standard broadband coverage.

But in Northern Ireland's case this statistic is misleading, given the huge strides made in the Six Counties on fibre broadband in recent years.

Some 96 per cent of homes in Northern Ireland now have access to super-fast broadband via a fibre network - way above the UK average of 67.9 per cent.

Indeed some homes in the region have access to fibre broadband services despite having no standard broadband option.

According to Ofcom, England has 70.9 per cent fibre broadband coverage, with the largely rural Scotland (47.6 per cent) and Wales (39.8 per cent) pulling the UK average down.

But with broadband providers such as BT and Virgin Media continuing to invest in fibre upgrades for their networks, the number of homes gaining access to fibre services will continue to increase.

The rollout of fibre services in rural areas - using government money distributed by Broadband Delivery UK - will ensure that the level of coverage keeps rising.

The UK government is aiming to achieve 90 per cent super-fast broadband coverage by 2015, with all other households having access to minimum download speeds of 2Mb.

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