British home Internet users have risen to 13.5 million in the last five months, with a significant uptake being amongst low-income households according to new research from Net research company Jupiter MMXI.
In the months between October and February, the amount of people going online in the UK rose by one million. The number of underprivileged households getting connected also increased by 870,000 in the past 12 months. Over the same period, high income families that generate incomes of £45,000 and over experienced a five percent decline in the number of people going online.
The new research suggests that the digital divide may be closing in Britain, with lower income households increasing their uptake of the Internet. Fears that a socio-economic Internet division is forming in the UK are contradicted by the new Jupiter figures, revealing that households with annual incomes below £15,000 now represent 17.3 percent of Britons online.
"Over the past year, awareness of the Internet has been heightened through advertising and made more approachable to anyone in the UK," said a Jupiter spokesperson. "The e-envoy has been promoting use of the Web, and the cost of going online has also fallen in both access rates and the price of Internet hardware."
The average British surfer now spends 408 minutes online every month, as opposed to 274 minutes a month this time last year.
Men are still leading the way in the take-up of the Web, making up 50 percent of the UK Internet population compared to women who account for 35 percent. Children between two and 14 are rapidly displacing both age groups, having increased their presence to 15 percent of the online population, up from 10.7 perent last October.
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