Broadband users almost doubled in Europe during 2002, but there is still a clear north/south divide in the region, which is likely to remain until at least 2007, according to research group Forrester.
In research published this week, Forrester predicts that by 2008, 30 percent of Europeans' homes will connect to the Internet with a broadband connection, 71 percent of these connections will be via ADSL, leaving cable customers in the minority.
Internet penetration in the UK grew by 9 percent last year, bringing the total number of online consumers up to 26.4 million. The only European country with more Internet users than the UK is Germany, with 32.9 million, 11 percent of whom went online in the past year.
In the far north of Europe, Sweden still boasts the highest Internet penetration with 73 percent, only 3 percent of whom have connected in the previous year. However, 17 percent of Spain's Internet users, of whom there are only 8.9 million, have hooked up in the past 12 months.
The report also found that although 52 million consumers shop online and 45 million bank online, only users familiar with Internet technology are willing to trust these services, so countries with low Internet penetration will probably lag behind for a number of years.
Forrester expects 50 million European households to have a broadband connection in 2008, by which time the divide between north and south should be less extreme.