ONS paints an increasingly wired picture of Britain

The Office of National Statistics' annual report on the nation's habits reveals increasing Internet access and mobile phone use amongst the population
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
The government has been taking a look back at what the nation's been up to this year -- and the UK is more in love technology than ever before.

According to the Office of National Statistics' Yearbook 2004 -- a snapshot of the tastes and events of the nation in 2004 -- 53 percent of UK households have Internet access, 84 percent of the UK's Internet users have used email between April 2003 and February 2004, while 21 percent used chatrooms.

Interestingly, 6 percent of the UK's Web users have also been using VoIP. However, the most popular online activity is getting information about goods and services, with 81 percent of all UK's online adults having used the Web for research.

The UK's adults are also big fans of using the Internet for entertainment -- 25 percent of us who went online have been playing or downloading music and 13 percent have done the same with games.

Although most of the UK still gets online via its PC, 11 percent of the UK's adults have been surfing the Web via their phones.

However, messaging is still one of the UK's favourite things to do with a phone, with 21.3 billion text and multimedia messages sent in 2003 -- up 23 percent on 2002. Calls from mobiles also rose -- up 13 percent on 2002's figure to 59 billion minutes in 2003.

And while the landline is losing market share to the mobile -- down 1 percent since 2002 to take 85 percent of all minutes in 2003 -- it's still the choice for voice. The fixed line phone was used for 337 billion minutes of calls last year.

Despite the dominance of the fixed line, mobile phones are now well and truly a staple of the UK citizen. Out of a population of 59.5 million people, 54.7 million mobile connections are active -- compared to 50 million a year before.

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