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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Britons embrace digital lifestyle
Woman using a laptop
Brits are feeling more confident with their technology
Britons are spending more time than ever using digital goods, like mobile phones, DVD players and the net, says a comprehensive Ofcom report.

The communications watchdog found people spend more time on mobiles than they do on landlines, with nine out of 10 households owning at least one.

Broadband is also becoming an essential part of people's lives, with 55,000 new connections made each week.

Ofcom's annual Communications Market report tracks trends in digital media.

It offers a panoramic picture of digital habits, including the net, gadgets, mobiles, digital TV and radio.

What it suggests is that people are finding extra, or new, activities with which to fill their time, like downloading, communicating online, texting, and surfing 24-hour news services.

Doing digital

"The advance of digital technology brings increased consumer choice and greater innovation, through broadband access, digital television, music downloads, digital radio and more," Ed Richards, Ofcom's senior partner of strategy development said.

KEY FINDINGS
People taking photos with mobiles
53% of homes have at least one digital TV
DAB digital radio covers over 85% of the UK
89% are able to access broadband services
21% of people use mobiles as main device for calls
20m people use their mobile at least once a week instead of a landline

Source: Ofcom

As people grow more comfortable with technology, there is more willingness to spend hard-earned cash on digital services and gadgets.

DVD players have proved remarkably popular, with more than half of Britons owning one.

The amount spent on fixed, mobile and net services rocketed by 1.3bn in 2003. In real terms, Britons dedicated 4% of their household purse for such services.

The report suggests time spent online has exploded since 1999, from two hours a week on slower dial-up connections to an average of 16 hours a week in homes with broadband.

More than half (53%) of Britain's homes are now online, with a third of those enjoying a broadband connection.

The report predicts that high-speed net connections will surpass five million by next month.

Competition between broadband providers, as well as efforts to upgrade telephone exchanges, has meant such a speedy connection is far more affordable and accessible.

With more people on broadband, more services, like music download sites, have come online to give them something to do with their fast net.


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