According to a report released yesterday by the government, 32% of all UK households now have access to the internet – almost eight million homes in total, and triple the number two years ago. Penetration is highest in the Southeast of england.

The survey by the National Statistics Office measures the July-September quarter. It shows the UK still lagging the US and Scandinavia – where over half the population is online – but ahead of all other European states including France, Italy and Germany.

UK regions with the lowest internet penetration are Northern Ireland (16%); Scotland (19%) and Wales (20%), while homes headed by a professional are more likely to be online than those led by unskilled or partly skilled workers.

Britons access the internet mainly from their own home (72%) but other points of entry include:

* Workplace (38%)
* Another person's home (34%)
* Student institution (24%)
* Cybercafe (9%)
* Public library (7%)

Over half the men sampled had used the net compared with 39% of women. The proportion of adults using the web decreased with age: of those in the 16-24 age group, 82% had surfed the net compared with a mere 4% of those aged 75 and over.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)