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Net phoning starts to win friends

Awareness of Net calling technology is steadily growing among Britons, suggests a survey. Almost half of those questioned said they knew that they could make cheap phone calls via the Net using so-called voice over IP (VOIP) technology. The research commissioned by VOIP firm Skype found that those aged over 55 were the most likely to use the Net to keep in touch. But younger people between 16 and 24 still prefer to text rather than talk. Wire work Just over 48% of those questioned for the Skype research into attitudes to VOIP said that their net-connected computer could help them make cheap phone calls. Perhaps surprisingly the research revealed that 51% of those questioned over 55 said they were most likely to turn to the net when keeping in touch with friends and family. By contrast only 36% of 16 to 24-year- olds said it was their preferred route. One of the most popular uses of Net communication technologies was to help preserve long-distance relationships. Skype said that 59% of those questioned use e-mail, instant messaging and Voip calls to maintain links with distant loved ones. The second most important communication channel was the telephone and third was text messaging. The survey also revealed the high cost of keeping touch. According to those questioned, Britons spend between £50 and £100 a month on paying to communicate. More than half, 53%, of those in the 16 to 24 age bracket said they had no idea what their total bill for communications would be each month. Just over a quarter, 26%, said their monthly bill was always a shock and too high. Since it launched in 2003, net calling firm Skype has racked up more than 55 million users. Earlier this month it was bought for $2.6bn (£1.4bn) by auction site eBay.

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