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An extra ten million people in Europe will hook up to broadband over the coming year, according to research published today.

At the end of March some 40 million people accessed the Net using a broadband connection from home, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. But if current growth rates continue then more than 50 million Europeans will be hooked up to broadband - just a smidge behind the US - by the end of March 2004.

Nielsen//NetRatings analyst Tom Ewing, reckons that this growth rate means that broadband "is finally taking off" in Europe.

He said: "And next year we might well be approaching the tipping point, after which high-speed access will be the norm not the exception, and the web will be designed with the high-speed user in mind. That's when things will really get exciting."

Researchers reckon the "broadband boom" is altering the way users behave online with people spending more time online.

In particular, it seems broadband punters are interested in file-sharing sites, music sites, film sites - and porn.

To underline its point, Nielsen//NetRatings points out that the adult entertainment sector has increased its reach year-on-year in all European markets except Italy, where - coincidentally - broadband penetration is comparatively low. ®

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