The European Commission wants to raise broadband internet penetration in the European Union to 30 per cent in 2010 from the current figure of 20 per cent in an effort to drive economic growth.
Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said only eight of the bloc's 27 member states were ahead of the United States in broadband use, with Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden world leaders with nearly a third of homes hooked up.
"These EU countries, together with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, all had broadband penetration rates higher than the United States in July 2007," Reding said in her annual update on competition in telecoms markets.
Broadband use in Europe reached 20 per cent overall, still lagging the 22.1 per cent in the United States.
Reding said she wants broadband penetration to hit 30 per cent by 2010 and that her proposed reforms of the telecoms market would help the bloc reach this target. Reding sees increasing the use of broadband as key to boosting competition in the retail sector, offering consumers more choice and driving down prices. Broadband is also seen as key to helping set up new businesses, particularly in more remote regions.
She said she was confident that her reforms, now before the European Parliament , would be adopted by April 2009 when parliamentary business winds down ahead of European elections in June.