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The UK has overtaken France as the most wired European nation as the number of broadband lines in Britain reached 9.8m according to Point Topic, the broadband industry analyst.

The report published on Thursday revealed that the UK marginally passed France this year, adding 2.8m broadband connections in the first nine months of the year compared to 2.2m in France and that the trend looks set to continue as rival service providers gain access to “unbundled” local telephone lines from BT, bringing increased competition and investment.

However Point Topic also points out that the merger of NTL and Telewest and the significant management effort required to manage the major changes in the market may see a reduction in the rate of growth.

In addition, the white paper from Point Topic estimated that the total number of broadband lines around the world increased 25 per cent in the first nine months of 2005 to 190.3m.

The US remained the largest broadband market with over 40.9m connections, but Asia is well represented with China the second largest market with 35m lines. Japan and South Korea hold the next two places but are being caught by the big European nations.

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