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There's further evidence that Internet penetration in the UK has flattened out.

Four in ten homes (42 per cent to be exact) in the UK has Net access - broadly the same as the previous 12 months.

PC ownership in the home also seems to have reached a plateau. Official stats from Oftel reveal that half of UK homes (53 per cent) have a computer - once again, broadly the same as for the previous 12 months.

While some might be concerned at this levelling off, industry group ISPA points out that the figures published yesterday were compiled in November ahead of the busy Christmas period for PC sales.

That aside, it's not just the number of Internet connections that is important but the increasing amount of time people use the Net.

A spokesman for ISPA added that people increasingly access the Net in schools, libraries, at work - and at a host of other places come to think of it - so the notion of Net access at home isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all.

Elsewhere, the research points out that nine out of ten people are satisfied overall with their Internet service. However, this drops to 84 per cent on the issue of "quality and reliability".

Indeed, it's a shame that Oftel's research into domestic Net use didn't follow the same format as its sister study for business use of the Net.

There, satisfaction for overall quality of service has fallen to 86 per cent. And on the issue of ISP customer care, satisfaction levels have also slipped to 82 per cent.

Bearing in mind the number of emails from readers complaining about the poor level of customer care dished out by some ISPs, it's a wonder the satisfaction rating isn't lower. ®

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