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Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Net becomes British way of life
Two people using the internet, BBC
Users spend an average of seven hours online
The internet has become a part of everyday life for most Britons, says a report.

Just over 70% of people questioned for the survey for consumer magazine Which? Online said the net had become essential.

The survey provides some insights into what people get up on the internet, with the favourite activity being e-mail.

It found people spent an average of seven hours online a week, visiting 13 different websites in seven days.

But it seems some people cannot get enough of the net, with 9% of all users using the internet for more than 20 hours a week.

Maturing audience

Just over 2,000 adults in Britain were interviewed for the report by Which? Online.


There's a grey area around the personal use of business facilities

Paul Kitchen, Which? Online
The study found almost 19 million people in the UK - four in 10 adults - were now online, with men making up just over half of all users.

But despite this, the number of people venturing into cyberspace has slowed down.

Numbers online grew by just 11% over the past 12 months compared with 33% the previous year.

There remains a clear demand for high-speed access, with 27% of people saying speed is one factor they would like improved. Yet only 13% have taken up any form of high-speed access.

Cost seems to remain the key obstacle, despite the recent fall in the price of broadband connections.

The report also revealed the increasing importance of the silver surfer. The number of elderly online grew by more than 40% over the past year.

People aged over 55 now make up 17% of the UK internet population.

Surfing staff

The survey also found many workers were happy to surf the net for personal reasons while at work.

Almost three-quarters of workers with internet access admitted using it for pleasure, usually to e-mail friends and family. But only 14% of them feel guilty about doing so.

A third also likes to browse for news, travel and leisure information.

"There's a grey area around the personal use of business facilities," said Paul Kitchen from Which? Online.

"Our survey shows that many employees expect some leeway, and most employers are pragmatic enough to recognise that.

"Where employers are less likely to be understanding, however, is if you're hogging bandwidth by downloading the latest movies or introducing an unfriendly virus to your internal network."

See also:

20 Aug 01 | Business
09 Jul 01 | Business
20 Aug 01 | Scotland
23 Apr 01 | Business
20 Jun 01 | Business
23 Mar 01 | Politics
14 Jun 01 | Business
15 Oct 01 | Science/Nature
11 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
17 Jul 02 | Business
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