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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
More than half of Britons log on
Graphic BBC
More than half of the UK population - 23 million people - have access to the internet, according to new government figures.

Net users by age
16-24 - 85%
25-44 - 66%
45-54 - 50%
55-64 - 39%
65-74 - 15%
75+ - 6%
More than a third can now surf the web from home - with 8.6 million households connected. This is nearly four times the number of homes which were connected two years ago.

The Office for National Statistics reported that 51% of people said in a survey in January that they had surfed the net either from home, work or other methods.

That was a rise from 45% in October. There are still proportionately more men (57%) accessing the internet than women (45%).

Youngsters biggest surfers

Computers were by far and away the most popular method of going online.

At 6%, the number of people using digital televisions was static, but access by Wap mobile phones had risen to 7%, from 1% last July.

Net users by class
All adults - 51%
Professional - 78%
Intermediate - 65%
Skilled non manual - 52%
Skilled manual - 37%
Partly skilled - 33%
Unskilled - 27%
Going online is almost universal for youngsters aged between 16 and 24, with 85% having surfed during the three months from October to December 2000.

That drops to 39% of 55-64 year-olds and just 6% for the over 75s; so-called "silver surfers".

Families headed by a professional were the most likely to have net access; families headed by a non-skilled worker, the least.

Accessing the net

The numbers are above those for Germany and France but below the US, where more than 50% of households are now connected to the web.

Many adults accessed the net from more than one place. Nearly eight out of ten adults who went online for their personal use did so from home; a quarter had used someone else's home.

At 30%, the number of adults using the web from their workplace remained constant.

More than a third of adults reported using the net mainly or exclusively to send e-mails.

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See also:

23 Mar 01 | UK Politics
UK internet schemes 'inadequate'
15 Feb 01 | Business
New web access hope
26 Sep 00 | Business
Surfers shun Wap phones
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