Investment and deregulation required
In Germany the telco's big bang wasn't until the mid-1990s but it was followed by huge investments in infrastructure around the county with companies keen to compete with Deutsche Telekom on providing full service (telephone, mobile and internet) to customers. This meant not only leasing capacity from Telekom but also putting cables in the ground to the DSLASM at least and occasionally to the kerb of the house so that only the twisted pair cable in a house is still owned by Telekom. Together with fairly extensive cable coverage, at least in metropolitan areas, this has led to a competitive environment which competes on both service and price. So I've gone from a 2 MB/s a connection ten years ago to 50 MB/s today for roughly the same price. Service quality is important and will drive customers away if it is not maintained and as it will be plastered all over the press.
AFAIK the UK has invested less and competes mainly on price and I wouldn't expect that to improve until the investment climate improves. Several El Reg hacks have suggested that there is no money in providing capacity but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
At the end of the day, however, broadband speeds seem to be a rainbow and I'm not sure if the idea that faster broadband will somehow automatically increase productivity and drive growth. I think for most of us having a connection of say > 256 kB/s would be sufficient for the vast majority of what we do and I've yet to OECD or similar figures painting a different picture. Higher speeds seem simply to favour media consumption which leads to a diversion from, say, CD and VHS rentals to streaming.