People in the United Kingdom lead the rest of the world in accessing television programming over broadband. Almost a quarter of internet users in the country claim to do so every week, driven by services like the BBC iPlayer. Nearly four out of ten of those with a connected television watch online programming at least once a week. These are just some of the conclusions reported from the annual international research conducted for Ofcom. However, France leads the way in terms of IPTV, which now serves over a quarter of French homes.

“We have always been a nation of TV lovers, and our research shows that UK consumers are world leaders in using the latest TV technology,” said James Thickett, the director of research at the national communications regulator Ofcom. “By catching up on programmes online or using smart TVs, the UK public is finding new ways to enhance their viewing experience.”

23% on internet users in the United Kingdom claimed to access television programming online at least once a week, compared to 17% in the United States, which ranked second.

The proportion rises to 31% among internet users in the United Kingdom aged 18-24, compared to 22% in the United States, where 26% of those aged 25-34 regularly accessed television programming over the internet.

In China, 44% of respondents said they watched television programming online at least once a week, although the thousand or so people responding to the online survey are more likely to be early adopters of internet technology rather than representative of the 1.3 billion people in China.

Of the nine countries surveyed, the United Kingdom showed the greatest uptake in digital video recorders, at 39%, followed by the United States at 32% and Australia at 29%. The United Kingdom also has one of the highest proportions of television homes with high definition, at 41%, second only to the United States at 49%.

Some 15% of those surveyed in the United Kingdom reported having a television that connects to the internet, ranking equal first with France. The figure was 10% in the United States. In China it reached 28% among those responding to the online survey, although again this is not representative of the wider population.

Those with an internet connected television were more likely to watch television via the internet. 39% of those in the United Kingdom with a connected television watched online programming on a weekly basis. In the United States 37% of those with a connected television watched online programming at least once a week, which is more than twice the national average.

77% of households in the United Kingdom reported having broadband, bearing in mind that this was an online survey, just ahead of the United States at 75%, but behind France with 81%.

France is the leading country for internet protocol television, at 28% of television homes, followed by Sweden and Ireland with 11% and the United States at 7%. The Ofcom report does not dwell on the fact that the United Kingdom has the lowest proportion of IPTV homes among the countries surveyed, at a fraction of 1%.

Ofcom reports that 72% of fixed broadband connections in the United Kingdom have an advertised speed of greater than 8Mbps, the highest proportion among those countries surveyed, ahead of Australia at 62%. Only 1% of connections were 2Mbps or less, the lowest percentage among the countries surveyed. The United States had the highest percentage of fixed-line connections of less than 2Mbps, at 58%, with 32% having an advertised rate of 8Mbps or higher.

The picture that Ofcom paints is that the United Kingdom is generally doing well in the international communications market, no doubt as a result of the highly efficient and competitive market that the regulator has managed so effectively.

It does seem that despite the minimal penetration of IPTV services in the United Kingdom, adoption of online television is higher than in other countries, driven by the efforts of the free-to-air broadcasters, led by the BBC, together with the offerings of pay-television providers, such as Sky Go. The level of weekly usage seems only likely to increase, particularly as connected televisions become more prevalent.

However, accessing television at least once a week over the internet is hardly comparable to receiving all your television services over internet protocols. In terms of IPTV, France is a clear leader, with sets in 28% of television homes served over internet protocols, as a result of competition between providers and the low availability of cable services.

The annual International Communications Market Report is published by Ofcom and contains a wealth of comparative data across a number of countries, based on online surveys and other data sources