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61% increase in home Internet ownership

61% increase in home Internet ownership

Ownership of home internet is now at 61% in the UK, but the same percentage of people are worried about security and safety on the web, according to a Consumer Panel report.

The consumer-campaigning body found over a third of the UK population now owns a mobile, internet and digital TV. But the Consumers and the Communications Market 2007 survey revealed 61% of the population are worried about security and safety on the web and this issue has been raised with Ofcom, which the Consumer Panel advises.

The panel is concerned public nervousness about the complexity of communications services, costs and service quality is set to increase further in future.

Levels of switching landline providers have risen 8%, which the Consumer Panel attributes to the growth in "bundled" broadband and fixed-line services.

The report also found people on low income and older people are being left behind, with only a third accessing the internet at home compared to the UK average of 61%.

Digital TV ownership is also lower for people on a low income, at 67% and lower still for older people at 57%, compared to the UK average of 74%.

Colette Bowe, Consumer Panel chairman, said: "Our annual tracker report has shown that consumers are exercising more choice in how and what communications technologies they use and that has to be a good development.

"However, we remain concerned that there is a worrying gap in owning and using communication technologies between people on low incomes and older consumers and the rest of the population."

According to the findings, people living in rural areas are less likely to feel positively about digital switchover, but are the best prepared for switchover in the country.

Bowe said: "Lack of access to digital TV, a PC or the internet at home is still a significant issue that could have an adverse impact on how well some children do at school and make it difficult for vulnerable people to access important public services."

The Consumer Panel is an independent body, established to advise Ofcom on the consumer interest in the markets it regulates.


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