Europe's Internet usage in 2002 will see a boom in broadband access and a soaring number of digital televisions and Napster-like music portals, according to Internet research firm Jupiter MMXI.
The company's research shows that, in the UK and Italy, the number of broadband users will triple. At the moment fewer than one per cent of Britons have broadband access, a figure consigning the UK to last place out of seven European nations.
Jupiter predicts that, elsewhere in Europe, the number of households subscribing to broadband will double during the year.
Telecoms experts say prohibitive broadband charges is the reason behind the UK's slow broadband take-up, but that greater availability will help drive down charges.
The UK, though, does have the highest penetration of digital television in the world, with over one half of British households owning a digital TV – twice the average for Europe predicted for the end of 2002.
Jupiter also foresees a sharp increase in the competition between online song-swapping services in the post-Napster era. Napster was forced to stop redistributing copyright material in February by the courts. Pressplay a major online music-subscription service, was launched only yesterday.