UK Web use shoots up

Survey: The number of British adults online has jumped sharply, thanks to 'silver surfers' and the broadband boom

Internet take-up in the UK has risen sharply over the last few months, according to the latest figures.

Market-research group Mintel reported on Friday that 57 percent of all adults now use the Web, up from one in two in April. Almost half use the Internet at home, while three in ten use it at work or their place of study. Up to 10 percent access the Web at public places such as Internet cafes, libraries and on the move.

Mintel predicted that this upward trend would continue, with 67 percent of adults expected to be online by 2006.

Several previous reports from organisations such as Oftel and the Office of National Statistics had suggested that Internet penetration in the UK was firmly stuck at about the 50 percent mark.

According to Mintel, this recent rise in online activity is partly due to the accelerating take-up of high-speed connections, with 20 percent of all adults now using a broadband connection.

Another factor is age. Sixty-five percent of 45- to 54-year-olds are now online, up from 35 percent three years ago. There are now as many 45- to 64-year-olds online as those aged between 15 and 34.