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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Big rise in broadband connections
Hand on a mouse
Broadband usage has been rising at a rate of 70,000 households a week
Almost three quarters of British households with internet connections use broadband, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Nearly 73% of online homes used broadband in June, up from 54.4% in the same month last year and 18% in 2003.

Dial-up, overtaken by broadband last year as the most popular way of accessing the internet, now accounts for about 27% of connections.

Figures show 14.3 million homes in the UK - almost 60% - are now online.

Popular and affordable

The number includes households in Northern Ireland for the first time, which accounts for 400,000 of the total.

Broadband uptake has been fuelled by a host of attractively priced offers from companies such as Carphone Warehouse, BT and BSkyB.

"The market share of broadband connections has been increasing ever since 2001, reflecting its growing popularity, affordability and widespread availability," the ONS said in a report, based on information from internet service providers.

The South East of England has the largest internet penetration of any region with 66% of households now online, while Scotland has the lowest with 48%.

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