The UK now leads the EU’s five biggest economies for roll-out of superfast broadband, the Government has announced today (12 March). The OFCOM European Broadband Scorecard report shows that the availability of superfast broadband has increased in the UK from around 60% at the end of 2011 to 73%. images-4

This has taken the country from third to first for coverage among the ‘EU5’ (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK).

Sarah Lee, head of policy for the Countryside Alliance said: “These figures are fantastic news and show a great advantage for UK business over its competitors. Broadband is a necessity for modern life, for business, leisure and education, so for the UK to be beating its European rivals, with roll-out at 73% of the population, is very positive.

“However these figures also mean that more than a quarter of the population is still without superfast broadband and these are most likely to be those people who live in the hard to reach areas for fixed line technology.

“Only last week a survey by NFU Mutual showed that one in five families, predominantly those living in the countryside, said their children do not have access to important online learning resources.

“So far this year the Government has announced £250m extra money for superfast broadband to help business start-up and job creation in hard-to-reach areas and a £10m broadband innovation fund to investigate other ways of providing superfast broadband in remote areas. These are the projects that will help to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural businesses and homes.”