Broadband-based Internet services face a good chance in Europe, where one in five homes will have broadband access by the end of the year.

The region will have 33.5 million broadband subscribers by the end of the year, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

However, the analysts report some differences across Europe's territories. Broadband penetration in the UK, Germany and Italy only stood at 13-15 per cent by the end of 2003; while Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark saw adoption at twice that rate.

Strategy Analytics suggests that territorial differences in adoption rates reflect a move to loosen the grip of the former state-owned telecommunications companies, with broadband rates in the most loop unbundled countries exceeding those in the least.

"Europe's smaller countries have demonstrated that loosening the grip of the incumbent telcos is critical to faster, wider broadband adoption," said principal analyst, David Mercer.

The analysts expect broadband to be harnessed in Europe for Internet access, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony services and video.

The report suggests 41 per cent of European homes will subscribe to broadband services by 2008.