Research suggests that Britons are addicted to the Internet — even though broadband quality has been ranked behind countries such as Bulgaria and Latvia. An average person in the UK is clocking up more than 30 hours a week online, according to a study by independent price comparison service uSwitch.com.

On a typical working day, a person now spends an average of five hours using the internet.

Two of these hours are for professional or work purposes, while the remaining three are for pleasure and leisure — including online shopping and socialising.

Researchers say the social networking boom is one of the main reasons why we now spend so much time online. A quarter of adults surveyed said they need to use sites such as Facebook and Twitter at least once a day — while almost a third of those aged 18-24 spend more than five hours a week on them.

Even when on holiday, at least one in three admits checking these sites.

Yet a report from IT giant Cisco said Britain's broadband ranked 31st out of 66 countries. Network quality was gauged by looking at speeds and penetration.

While Britain's services were "meeting needs for today," many EU neighbours as well as a slew of Asian nations and the US scored higher. The study, jointly conducted with Oxford University's Said Business School and the University of Oviedo's Department of Applied Economics, found Sweden had the best broadband access in Europe.

Those in less populated regions reportedly enjoyed better quality broadband access than those in the cities. In addition, Bulgaria, Latvia, Holland and Denmark had "ready for tomorrow"-rated broadband networks, which meant citizens were able to watch high-definition video.