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Britain the best Net country in Europe

And that's sort of official: more survey gubbins

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We don't like surveys, but when two of our favourites - Forrester and MMXI - tell us that Britain is leading the way in Europe when it comes to the Internet, we forget our pervasive cynicism and put on the patriotic hat.

Because that's just what the good ole UK is doing.

We have 12.5 million people connected to the Internet, says MMXI, bashing the Boche into second place with 11.3 million surfers. Of course, Forrester's figures are totally different but still show the same trend. According to Forrester, 51 per cent of the UK population "has access" to the Internet and 15.4 million of us are regular users.

The gender war (yeah, we know it's not a war, but that's what you have to write if you're talking about men and women) is also being won. MMXI says that we are only behind Sweden in terms of equality: 57 per cent of UK folk online are men (43 per cent women, obviously). Forrester is having none of it - women make up 46 per cent of surfers it insists.

What about where they don't disagree (because the other hasn't covered it)? Forrester: 91per cent of those polled have checked out some kind of goods/services online. British Net users are also more willing to buy online than our European cousins (48 per cent up from 38 per cent last quarter). "The UK Internet is no longer a hobby for a sophisticated, wealthy and educated male elite," said William Reeve, group director of Forrester's European Data section. "The UK Internet has become a truly mass information, communications and entertainment medium. Internet usage" etc etc etc.

Funny thing is, at least according to MMXI, that us Brits use the Net, on average, less than everyone except Spain - nine days a month, apparently. But then this is obviously a by-product of having a lot of people online - some will only dabble every now and again.

So there you go. Rule Britannia and all that. ®

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