London is Internet capital survey finds

Almost a quarter of UK Internet users are based in London, with only five percent in North East England

London is the swinging centre of Britain's Internet scene with nearly a quarter of the UK's surfers living in the capital, according to the latest figures from Internet measurement firm MMXI.

The study -- carried out in March 2000 -- reveals striking regional differences in Internet use. While a healthy 22.7 percent of Internet users live in London, the Midlands account for just 15.5 percent and less than five percent of surfers are from the North East of England.

The report also found that the popularity of Web sites varies from region to region. While Yorkshire surfers are fans of Freeserve.co.uk, Londoners prefer Yahoo.com and Welsh onliners opt for Microsoft.com.

The fact online activity is centred on the South will come as bad news to the government which is determined to prevent the development of a digital divide. A damning internal report published in March accused Labour of not doing enough to combat lack of Internet access in deprived areas.

Mari Kim Coleman, managing director of MMXI, does not think we have to worry too much about a digital divide just yet. "We are definitely seeing an overpopulation of Internet users in London but otherwise it is fairly evenly spread," she says. "The difference is not as dramatic as in France."

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