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European broadband users reach 100 million

More than half of Europe’s Internet surfers now have a high-speed broadband connection at home, which has helped to push the number of Web users in Europe through the 100 million mark, a new survey has found.

Internet access over a broadband connection showed a 60 percent increase from 34.1 million only a year earlier, market researcher Nielsen/NetRatings said in a report.

The largest increases were in Italy at 120 percent and in Britain, where the base of broadband surfers nearly doubled. Consumers benefited from lower prices and more offerings for fast and always-on Internet subscriptions.

While millions of consumers decided to swap their dial-up Internet subscriptions for a faster digital subscriber line (DSL) or cable TV broadband connection, millions more ventured on the Internet for the first time. The total number of Internet users in Europe increased by 12 percent to 100 million in the year ending October 2004, led by audiences in France, Italy, Britain and Germany, Nielsen said.

The growth in faster connections means Web sites will need to offer more video and music to keep attracting consumers, the research group said.

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