Research by Oftel, the telecoms watchdog, revealed that 14 million people in the UK, or nearly a quarter of the population, were logging on to the internet at home. The new survey is the first in series of quarterly reports on the residential telecoms market.
Only 18% of consumers, however, felt companies were giving them enough information to find the best net access package.
Around six million homes in the UK are hooked up to the net, and logging on to the internet is becoming something of a national pastime, with 22% of the population surfing the net from their own homes. But figures released by Which? in July showed that almost a third of those surveyed said the service was too expensive and was irrelevant to them anyway.
According to the research: 34% of internet users now use more than one internet service provider; 40% expressed an interest in faster internet access; 5% of UK households now use mobiles instead of fixed phones.
Chris Kenny, Oftel’s director of regulatory policy, said: “Although competition is increasing it is important that consumers have the information necessary to help them choose the best possible deal.
“This new research programme - and the initial findings from it - will help us focus our attention on areas where consumers would benefit from more information.”
Kenny continued, “A parallel quarterly survey of small businesses will provide a picture of the business market. The first set of results is expected early in the autumn.”
A representative sample of 2,070 adults in the UK was interviewed, reflecting the profile of age, sex, social grade, region and employment status.