Britain is an officially tech-savvy nation with nearly half of the adult population using the Internet, according to the Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom published Thursday.
Britain 2001 based on data from the Office of National Statistics, reveals that 20.4 million adults -- around 45 percent of the population -- have accessed the Internet.
While the figures will give Tony Blair reason to celebrate, a divide appears to be growing between the young and the old. The proportion of those online steadily decreased with age, with 69 percent of 16 to 24 year olds accessing the Internet, compared with only six percent of those over 75.
A concurrent report from Internet research company MMXI shows that on a global scale, the UK is still leading the way in terms of Internet penetration. The study found that in the month of October, 12.5 million people in Britain accessed the Internet from home. Germany ran a close second with 11.3 million logging on in the same month.
"The main reason for Britain having the highest proportion of its population online is a language issue. With the majority of Web sites being in English due to the huge Internet market in America, it is easy for the UK population to access these sites and understand them," said Andreas Gutjahr, european marketing manager for MMXI.
An Oftel survey also showed that the number of Britons using mobile phones has more than doubled in the last 18 months, from14.8 million in March 1999 to 33 million in September 2000.
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