Web surfers in the UK spend more time online than those in the rest of Europe or the USA, according to results from a study released on Monday.

The average UK Internet user spends 34.4 hours on the Web each month - or almost a day and a half - followed by the Swedes with 31.7 hours and the Spanish with 30.6 hours, according to the figures, from comScore's World Metrix study.

The UK and Sweden also beat the USA, where the average Web surfer spends 31.4 hours online each month, the study found.

Asked to explain the UK's high usage rates, Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe, cited an increase in broadband usage and Britain's poor weather.

Germany has Europe's biggest Internet population, with 35.6 million people, although Germans spend less time in front of their computers on average, racking up just 22.6 hours online each month. The average for Europe is 24.1 hours per month.

The Netherlands has the greatest Internet penetration, at 83 percent, followed by Norway and Sweden with 70 percent each. Russia came last with 11 percent Internet penetration.

The figures come with several caveats: They include only Internet users aged 15 and older, and are based on data from 16 of Europe's biggest markets, with the numbers extrapolated to find averages for the rest of the continent. They are based on data collected in April from PCs at home and at work, and do not include Internet access from mobile phones and Internet cafes.

On average there were 122 million Europeans online each day in April, compared to 114 million in the USA, comScore said. Websites owned by Google generated the most page views in most of the countries, followed by those of Microsoft.

The countries studied were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

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