Broadband adoption across Europe is at its fastest-ever rate, according to Datamonitor.

The research company also claims connection rates will level-out at 60 percent of households.

"The current situation in many markets can be best described as one of rapidly increasing penetration, where broadband has effectively entered its growth sweet spot," said author of the report Tim Gower. "With some markets potentially experiencing changes in the household penetration of broadband of up 10 per cent in a calendar year, service providers must be well positioned to take advantage of the forthcoming penetration acceleration, prior to the inevitable slowdown."

Datamonitor's report highlights the current and future state of consumer broadband markets in Western Europe and North America, focusing on the likely service provider revenues in 16 countries.

Adoption has been driven by marketing campaigns, competitive pricing and an increase in the number of applications and services, such as iTunes, that consumers actually want to use.

"In many countries broadband is the fastest growing consumer technology of all time, outpacing the uptake of mobile phones and dial-up Internet access," Gower said.

At present, the French, Norwegian and Dutch markets have the highest penetration of DSL in Europe. Effective regulation has encouraged extremely fierce price competition in these markets which has led to rapid consumer uptake. Incumbent operators in Portugal and Ireland, on the other hand, have been less effectively regulated and this has reduced penetration.

Nearly eight million UK households will have a broadband connection by the end of 2005. "At current rates of broadband adoption, there are on average a good eighteen months to two years of strong penetration increases across Western Europe before markets begin to mature", Gower said.