France leads the rest of Europe in internet usage, followed by Britain and Spain, according to a study by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA).

The average French user spends 13 hours a week online, compared with 11 each for Britain and Spain and a European average of just over 10 hours.

Italians spend the least time online with an average of only eight hours per week. Meanwhile Europeans now spend 17 per cent more time online compared with 2004, and 56 per cent more compared with the year before.

Television usage increased by six per cent year-on-year, with radio and newspapers rising by 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. Time spent reading magazines declined by seven per cent.

Power users are now a recognised feature of the landscape, with 24 per cent of the respondents spending more than 16 hours a week using the internet and 69 per cent online five or more days a week.

Broadband users are, not surprisingly, the heaviest users with nearly a third spending more than 16 hours per week online.

7,000 people were quizzed for the survey, which was carried out by market research firms SPA and Synovate.