UK tops European broadband rankings

But while superfast broadband coverage has been extended, take-up still lags.

The UK has the highest take-up and coverage of superfast broadband among leading European economies, according to new research.

Figures from the UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom suggest the UK is ahead of Europe's other biggest economies, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, when it comes to coverage, take-up and usage of broadband.

It said the availability of superfast broadband in the UK – which is defined as a connection of 20Mbps or more - has increased from about 60 percent at the end of 2011 to 73 percent.

This growth has propelled the country from third to first in the rankings for availability in Europe. But the uptake of superfast services remains low, with only nine in every 100 people upgrading. Nevertheless, this rate of adoption is the highest in the five countries Ofcom surveyed.

The low level of interest in these services is attributed to a lack of awareness and aversion to the higher costs.

According to the Ofcom figures the UK has the highest broadband take up at 83 percent of all households, the highest weekly usage of the internet, 87 percent, and the lowest proportion of people who have never used the internet, eight percent.

The UK is doing reasonably well on broadband pricing, too; Ofcom said the UK comes either first or second within the group of five countries on all measures of average price, and either second or third on measures of the lowest available price.

However, the UK come fourth out the five countries when measuring whether people had interacted with the government online, suggesting more needs to be done to encourage usage of these services as last year the UK was ranked at number three on this measure.