Half UK Net households are regular users, says report

Ten million of the 20 million Britons with home Net access go online regularly -- but the gap is narrowing, says Media Metrix

Only about half of Internet-connected households regularly use the Internet, but the proportion is rising according to research published Tuesday.

About 20 million people in the UK have Internet access from home, but just over ten million used it in June, according to analysis firm Media Metrix. The findings suggest the number of regular Net users is growing.

"Although there is a shortfall between those who access the Internet regularly and those who have the opportunity to do so, this gap is getting smaller as people get used to the Internet," said Mari Kim Coleman, UK managing director of MMXI Europe, in a statement.

Nearly a quarter of British households -- seven million -- have Internet access, Media Metrix found. That compares to 4.9 million in October of 1999.

The group also found that, although American Internet powerhouses are the biggest brands online, home-grown firms are also making an impact with viewers. In June Microsoft's MSN -- which, by this measurement, includes Microsoft.com -- was the top digital media brand, reaching 44.9 percent of the total Internet audience. Yahoo! was number two, with a 42.2 percent reach and Freeserve, the UK-based Internet service provider, was third with 33.4 percent.

The BBC was ninth with a 16.3 percent reach and Internet service provider Demon was tenth with a 14.7 percent reach.

"Internet brands such as MSN.com, Yahoo.com and Freeserve.com have established themselves as popular choices for UK surfers. Nevertheless as Internet use matures traditional British companies such as the BBC, Virgin and BT are using the web to strengthen their overall brand message," MMXI said in a statement.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.