European Commission figures show that 95.3% of EU households live in areas covered by broadband – walking distance from the 100% coverage the bloc aims to achieve by 2013.
Some countries – the UK, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Denmark – are ahead of the pack and have already reached the 100% objective.
Broadband allows fast internet and offers a range of services only available at higher speeds, such as watching streaming music or playing online videogames.
Total coverage is considered important to avoiding the so-called “digital divide” but here statistics are less encouraging, with only one-quarter of European households having a broadband subscription.
In the first half of 2011, the broadband penetration rate was 27.2% of the EU population – some 500 million – but recorded the lowest growth rate since 2003, the Commission said.
“The slowdown is a cause for concern, because the EU is still far from saturation,” the Commission noted in a statement.