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UK is broadband laggard – OECD

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Britain is languishing in 21st place in a league table of broadband-enabled countries according to figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The figures show that South Korea is currently experiencing the highest penetration levels among OECD nations with 10 broadband connections per 100 people. Canada is placed second with four per hundred closely followed by the US, which boasts three broadband connections per hundred.

Britain, on the other hand, is 21st in a list of 30 countries - just ahead of nations including Hungary, Greece, Poland and the Slovak Republic.

According to the stats, it only has a pitiful 0.08 broadband connections per hundred people. This is despite the Government's stated aim to make the UK a broadband leader among G7 countries by 2005.

There can be no doubt that Britain's headline figure is unimpressive - especially when compared to the rest of the world.

It's poor ranking in such an important survey has, quite rightly, been used as a weapon to bash the Government's arrogant and over-inflated position on broadband, deride the sluggishness of incumbent telco, BT, and highlight the ongoing problems concerning broadband roll-out in Britain.

However, the OECD analyst who compiled the figures is less quick to judge the performance of nations just on the basis of these figures alone. He believes things could change rapidly over the coming months and years.

Specifically talking about the UK's performance, Sam Paltridge told The Register: "I'm quite optimistic about what can happen in the UK.

"There is no reason why the UK can't accelerate [up the league table] very quickly.

"The UK has had ten years of infrastructure competition - something that other countries haven't got...and competition can help drive this technology to consumers," he said. ®

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