PCs are best, say surfers

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Almost half of the population of Britain has logged on to the web, but surfers prefer home computers to Wap phones, according to the new National Statistics omnibus survey.

This is equivalent to 20.4 million adults in Britain having accessed the Internet. More than half the males in the country have surfed, but only 39% of women, according to the survey, the second in a series on internet access.

More than two thirds of users are accessing the web via home computers, and almost one third are logging on at a workplace PC, even for personal use. The report says that virtually all those who used the internet for personal use had done so mostly or exclusively using a computer.

A third of users only check e-mails, and one-in-seven surfs government or official sites. More than two thirds are surfing for information on goods and services, and 28% have actually shopped online.

The proportion of adults who had used the Internet decreases steadily with age and varied from 69% of those aged 16 to 24 years to 6% of those aged 75 and over. Youngsters are six times more likely than over 65-year-olds to surf, but almost half of Britain’s 45 to 54s have got the bug.

Professionals are three times as likely as unskilled worker to use the net, the report says; and of those who have never logged on, half said they weren’t interested, while one quarter said they didn’t have a computer.

One in seven non-users said they wouldn’t know how to surf, and 2% expressed antagonism to the idea.

The National Statistics Omnibus Survey is a multi-purpose survey for use by government departments, charities and academics. It provides a fast, cost-effective and reliable way of obtaining information on topics too brief to warrant a survey of their own, and for topics of immediate interest. The omnibus survey is carried out eight times a year, and each month it runs a random sample of about 1,800 adults, aged 16 and over, living in private households throughout Britain. Each month’s questionnaire covers a variety of topics, and results are available to users within three weeks of the end of fieldwork.

National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs, and are produced free from any political interference.

National Statistics

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