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Broadband use outstrips dial-up

Nearly 30 percent of households and businesses currently have broadband connections, and virtually all homes will have the ability to get broadband by the end of 2005, UK telecoms and media regulator Ofcom said in a report on Wednesday.

At the end of 2002, a 512 kilobits per second connection cost an average of 27 pounds per month. A connection that is about twice as fast, 1 Megabit per second, now costs 20 pounds per month.

Ofcom noted that while broadband Internet connections doubled in 2004, revenues only increased by 6.8 percent.

The shift to high-speed Internet access is part of a broader shift to digital media in Britain. More than 60 percent of households now receive digital television via cable, satellite, or the fast-growing Freeview platform.

Digital radio is also making gains. About 8 percent of listening is comprised of DAB digital radio receivers, Internet radio streamed to computers, or digital radio delivered to TV sets.

UK households are spending an increasing percentage of their incomes on TV, radio, and telecommunications: more than 1,000 pounds per year or about 4 percent of total consumer spending, a third higher than in 2000.