Page last updated at 02:59 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

UK 'ahead in digital TV uptake'

Digital switchover
Whitehaven in Cumbria was the first UK town to switch to digital in 2007

Digital television is spreading faster in Britain than in France, Canada, the US, Germany, Italy and Japan, according to UK communications regulator Ofcom.

Research suggests that 86% of homes in Britain can now receive digital on their main set, while 30% have digital video recorders.

Ofcom also says British consumers pay less than those in other countries for TV, mobile phones and broadband.

The report also says people in Ireland send the most text messages.

The regulator found that last year the Irish spent an average of 179 minutes on their mobiles each month and sent nearly twice as many text messages as people in the UK.

High definition

The International Communications Market report looked at the spread of different technologies across the globe.

It found that the US was leading the way on internet use, with Americans spending an average of just over 15 hours a week online.

The UK was second for surfing at just under 14 hours a week.

The research also found that:

  • Across all the countries examined, average broadband take-up was 56% of households in 2007. Britain came in at 60%.
  • Britain has more high definition television sets per capita than any other country in Europe, but less than in the US and Canada.
  • Mobile phone use is soaring in emerging markets with 216 million new mobile subscriptions registered in Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2007.
  • China alone added 88 million mobile users last year, more than the total number of subscriptions in Britain.

The digital switchover in Britain must be completed by 2012 when the analogue signal will be turned off for good.

Whitehaven in Cumbria was the first town to switch in October 2007.

Ofcom says British consumers get a good deal when it comes to technology, particularly where they purchase a "bundle" of television, phone and internet subscriptions from one provider.

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