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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 14:56 GMT
Women lead UK online growth
Two people using the internet, BBC
The internet is stretching its appeal
Women are fuelling a surge in internet use in Britain as they catch up with men, according to new research.

An extra two million women have gone online over the past six months, a jump of 10 percentage points.

But the survey by the internet bank Egg found also found that affluent young men were still more likely to use new technology.

The growth of the internet in Britain is mirrored across the world, with 474 million people online at home, according to a Nielsen NetRatings survey.

Appeal of technology

The Egg survey found that around 19 million Britons, or 42% of all adults, used the internet in their own time.

The quarterly research found that people are becoming increasingly receptive to new interactive technologies.

More households watching digital TV, BBC
More households watching digital TV
A total of 25 million people now use the internet, digital television or Wap mobile phones, a rise of six percentage points in six months, according to Egg's Mori poll of 1,959 adults.

The highest proportion of people with access to interactive technologies is to be found in the Midlands, with Wales as the least wired area of the UK.

"Britain's appetite continues to grow for new and exciting innovations that are already on the market or on the technological horizon," said Mark Nancarrow, chief operating officer at Egg.

Cashless and cardless

"We are now also seeing a significant level of interest and anticipation for technologies such as digital payment and aggregation services, which are currently not widely available in Britain."

The extent to which many people are receptive to potential new technologies of the future is extremely interesting

Professor Robert Worcester, Mori
Account aggregation enables consumers to access all their accounts online in one place using one password, even if they are held with different providers.

"The extent to which many people are receptive to potential new technologies of the future is extremely interesting," said Professor Robert Worcester, chairman of Mori.

"One-quarter of the general public - and four in 10 under 35 year olds - say they would like to see technology that establishes who people are and how much money they have with iris or fingerprint recognition, meaning that one would never have to carry a wallet again."

US leads online world

Across the world, about 15 million logged on to the internet from home in the past few months, bringing the global internet population to 474 million.

The US still has the most web users, with 186 million people or 39% of its entire population online.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa combined have 128 million people online and Asia Pacific 104 million.

Regions like Latin America, where only 20 million are connected to the internet, are catching up.

Nielsen NetRatings analyst Richard Goosey said he expected to see a strong surge in internet access in Latin America over the next 12 months.

Nielsen NetRatings conducted more than 40,000 surveys between June and September for the study.

See also:

20 Aug 01 | Business
UK internet usage surges
09 Jul 01 | Business
Internet use surges in the UK
23 Apr 01 | Business
UK internet use growing
20 Jun 01 | Business
Net police fail online shoppers
23 Mar 01 | UK Politics
UK internet schemes 'inadequate'
14 Jun 01 | Business
Women overtake men online
15 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
Appeal for more 'IT' girls
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