Social Networking Soars in Britain

Communications regulator Ofcom reports 4 out of 10 Britons regularly visited social networking sites in 2006, the most in Europe

UK web users are the keenest advocates of social networking in Europe, spending more time on them than anyone else across the continent.

Four out of 10 adults in the UK regularly visited social networking sites during 2006 -- more than anywhere else in Europe -- according to Ofcom's latest International Communications Market report.

Last year, users spent on average 5.3 hours per month on the sites and returned to them 23 times during each month.

As a result, companies spent more on web advertising per person in the UK than anywhere else, shelling out an average of £33 per person -- twice as much as France, Germany and Italy combined.

Ofcom's report also looks at the global television, radio and telecoms markets during 2006, comparing the UK to 11 other countries.

The UK led the way in a number of other areas, with slightly more than half of all UK households having a broadband connection by the end of 2006 -- edging ahead of the US.

The UK also had the highest uptake of digital TV of the 12 countries, with 76 per cent of households now having digital. The closest rival was the US with 61 per cent.

UK consumers also get a pretty good deal on these services, with 40 per cent of UK households buying triple-play bundles costing an average of £25 per month. In Germany a typical household paid £39.77 last year for the same set of services, while in the US they paid £69.54.

Across the 12 countries, mobiles phones accounted for 53 per cent of all telecoms revenues and 61 per cent of all phone lines, following a trend since 2001 for the number of landlines to decline.

Mobile uptake in the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) rocketed in that period with 660 million new subscriptions accounting for 40 per cent of the global total.

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