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The number of fixed broadband lines in the UK rose by 8.5 per cent during 2012, latest figures from Ofcom indicate.

According to the media regulator, there were 22.174 million connections in the UK at the end of Q4 2012. This was up from 20.428 million 12 months earlier at the end of Q4 2011.

Ofcom also reported a sharp rise in the number of fixed-line connections between September and December 2012.

This increased by 659,000 from 21.515 million at the end of Q3 2012, as more businesses and households took out broadband services.

Ofcom's Telecommunications market data tables for Q4 2012 also revealed the number of connections delivered via BT's network infrastructure.

BT's retail share fell slightly from 29.3 per cent of the market to 28.9 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

The number of non-local loop unbundling (LLU) ADSL lines increased from 7.946 million to 7.969 million, while LLU ADSL lines were up from 7.946 million to 8.777 million and cable from 4.120 million to 4.290 million.

Ofcom reported strong growth in the number of fibre connections - up from 416,000 at the end of 2011 to 1.138 million in Q4 2012.

Earlier this year, a separate Ofcom report claimed that the average broadband speed for UK residential customers had risen to 12Mb.

The media regulator revealed that average speeds had more than trebled since November 2008, when the mean was just 3.6Mb.

The study found that cable broadband connections generated the greatest increases in average speeds in the six months to November 2012, rising by 10.4Mb to 28.3Mb.

Average speeds for fibre connections increased by 9.4Mb to stand at 41Mb.

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said the study showed that consumers are adopting faster broadband packages to cater for their increasing use of bandwidth-heavy services such as video streaming.

"The increase in the average number of connected devices in UK homes is also driving the need for speed," he stated.

"Internet providers are working to meet consumer demand through network upgrades and the launch of super-fast packages, giving consumers faster speeds and greater choice."

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