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The number of UK homes connected to the Net plateaued in the three months to August, according to the latest stats from Oftel.

Home Internet use has grown steadily since Oftel's first study in January 1999.

In May 2001, Oftel reported that 40 per cent of UK homes were connected to the Net but in August, that figure dipped by one per cent.

According to the experts at the winged watchdog, it's too early to tell if this represents a change in the long-term upwards trend or whether this is just blip.

What's clear is that the role of flat-fee dial-up services has been vital in the growth of the UK's Internet market with just under half of those homes connected to the Net using some form of unmetered narrowband access.

This, Oftel reckons, is a key driver in getting lower income groups online and using the Net.

Elsewhere, the report found that dial-up access remained the most popular method for getting online.

No surprises there, but once again, the number of broadband users is so small - around one per cent - Oftel can only give an estimate of usage numbers.

However, we should all take heart because the winged watchdog is "planning to carry out an additional benchmarking exercise for the broadband market".

Note, it is "planning to" not "actually carrying out" this particular exercise.

Apparently, Oftel wants to establish "whether and if so why, UK consumers are making more or less use of Internet broadband access than other countries".

Heaven help us. ®

Related Link

Consumers’ use of Internet Oftel residential survey Q6 August 2001

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