Games and digital TV boosting Internet take-up

More than one million Britons joined the UK Internet population through their games console in the second quarter, and half a million through their set-top box

Games consoles and digital TV are now the fastest growing access points for the Internet, according to a new survey published on Monday by Jupiter MMXI.

The Online Market Landscape report reveals that the number of Britons surfing the Internet from games consoles increased by over one million people in the last three months, taking the group to a total of three million. TV set-top box Web access grew by half a million in the same period to a total of one and a half million.

Between April and June, 33 million people accessed the Internet in the UK, with 13.6 percent using a games console or digital TV as their main access point.

"The penetration of Net access is increasing because people are choosing to access the Internet through set-top boxes or games consoles rather than both," said Mari Kim Coleman, senior vice president of measurement for Jupiter MMXI. "The way in which digital TV is packaged -- offering Internet access along with multiple channels -- is bringing Internet into the home without there being any additional costs."

The home is still the most important place for accessing the Internet, with 61 percent of people using it as their base to log on. Only a third of Internet users log on from work, with over half of this group sharing their computer with one or more people, and 44 percent sharing their PC with three or more people. Public access points are also increasing in importance, with 32 percent accessing the Internet from Internet cafes, libraries, friends' houses and schools. The duplication in figures indicates that Britons are now using more than one access point for the Internet.

The cost of owning a PC and accessing the Internet still remains an issue in the UK, with over four million people visiting other people's homes to access the Net. "The access costs do limit the amount of people connecting via a phone or home PC, but the prices have gone down, and so this is not a real barrier anymore," said Coleman. Companies are also taking a tougher line on Internet usage in office hours, and are increasingly limiting Internet access to certain computers within the office. "At home every person has the opportunity to go online, but not everyone has this right at work," Coleman added.

The survey questioned over 5000 people, and discovered that 35 to 49 year olds account for 26 percent of the online population, closely followed by the over 50s, and those in the 25 to 34 age group.

"As you get older, you have more time and more of a disposable income, with older people being able to bring a PC into the home and use it for a broader spectrum of purposes," said Coleman.

See the Internet News Section for full coverage.

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