Over the third quarter of 2000, an average of 7.8 million households in the UK could access the Internet from home, which amounts to 32 percent of all households and is more than three times the number two years earlier, according to the UK’s Family Expenditure Survey and the October National Statistics Omnibus Survey.
Levels of access vary greatly between different geographic regions in the UK. Through September of 2000, the proportion of households with access was still the lowest in Northern Ireland (16 percent), Scotland (19 percent) and Wales (20 percent). Proportions were highest in London (34 percent) and the South East (30 percent).
When comparing April 1999 to March 2000, access has increased throughout all the regions. Proportionately, the largest increase can be seen in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Levels of Internet access in the UK depend very strongly on income. Internet penetration rates were in the 5 to 9 percent range among the four lowest income groups. Among households in the highest tenth of incomes, 62 percent have Internet access.
On an individual level, 45 percent of adults in the UK have accessed the Internet at some time. This is equivalent to 20.5 million adults. Eighty percent of these individuals accessed the Internet in the month prior to the October National Statistics Omnibus Survey.
Men are more likely to use the Internet than women (52 percent vs. 39 percent). The proportion of adults who had used the Internet decreases steadily with age, and varies from 82 percent of those age 16 to 24, to 4 percent for those age 75 and older. Two-third of adults who have used the Internet age between 16 and 44.
Almost all of the respondents who used the Internet for personal use used a computer (98 percent). Since July of 2000, there has been noticeable growth in the use of Digital TV and mobile phones to access the Internet. Digital TV rose from 1 percent in July to 6 percent in October, while mobile phone access rose from 1 percent to 5 percent in the same timeframe.
Among the UK citizens who had accessed the Internet, 73 percent of adults used the Internet for email, and 64 percent used it for general browsing or surfing. Two-thirds of adults used the Internet to find information about goods or services and 33 percent said they used the Internet to buy such goods and services. When asked what Internet application they used most often, email was the winner. Thirty-six percent of adults surveyed used the Internet exclusively to send and receive email.
Of the 55 percent of UK adults who had never accessed the Internet, 32 percent said they weren’t interested; 22 percent said they didn’t have a need to use it; and 21 percent lacked the confidence and skills needed to use the Internet. Eight percent of adults said they felt too old to use the Internet.
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