Two million subscribers have now signed up to broadband services in the UK, according to figures released today by telco watchdog Oftel.

Today's announcement puts the UK back in the race for the highest broadband takeup in Europe, with an average 35,000 people per week signing to high-speed services. Those switching from existing narrowband connections make up a large proportion of this figure.

"It took two years to reach one million connections, but only seven months to reach to two million, as increased competition and lower process times have boosted connection rates," said David Edmonds director general of telecommunications at Oftel.

The news will come as huge relief to the government, which has promised to achieve 'best place' for broadband in the G7 group of countries.

"We now have the most competitive market in the G7 and we have today hit two million connections in the UK. This just goes to show that we are heading full speed in the right direction," said e-commerce minister Stephen Timms.

Timms also used today's announcement to congratulate the efforts of locals in rural broadband schemes and confirm the government's aim that every community in the UK, irrespective of location, "should have the opportunity to access affordable broadband from a competitive market".

"The level of enthusiasm we are seeing for these technologies among both businesses and consumers is great to see. The more this demand is demonstrated, the further broadband will spread, opening up access to everyone in every part of the UK," added Timms.

Oftel's figures include 128Kbps services, which for this purpose are deemed broadband.