Only one percent of UK homes have a broadband connection, six times lower that France's one in fifteen homes, according to research from Internet measurement firm, NetValue.
The US and Germany also enjoy higher levels of broadband -- six percent of homes in the US are wired and 3.2 percent in Germany.
In Asia the deficit is even greater. Hong Kong has 7.6 percent of homes ready for broadband, Singapore has four percent and Taiwan nearly two percent. In Korea more than one in three online households has a broadband connection. Shortage of engineers installing broadband equipment in homes was overcome in Korea as telco office staff joined in the effort to wire people keen to take part in the broadband Internet revolution.
Oftel admits there have been delays rolling out ADSL in the UK but is confident there will be widespread broadband coverage in the UK by next summer. The regulator accepts that there are limitations on DSL technology preventing widespread uptake.
"A lot of houses are more than four kilometres away from exchanges and that needs to be looked at," says an Oftel spokesman. The watchdog is currently looking at the possibility of rolling out fibre optic connections to those homes bypassed by DSL.
It is estimated that 100 million consumers worldwide will have broadband by 2005.