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The US has a hardcore group of people who simply aren't interested in using the Internet. Around a third of US adults have rejected the Net, causing researchers to split them into two distinct groups.

"Resistors" - which make up 16 per cent of this hardcore group - have access to the Net either at home or work but chose not to use it. The second group - which makes up around 20 per cent of the US population - is described as "Unconnected," and doesn't have access to hand anywhere.

As a result of this enlarged hardcore group of non-users, Net use among US adults has flattened out at around two thirds of the population with Net growth slowing from a "sprint to a crawl".

Any further improvement in penetration levels would need the industry to convert "Unconnected" consumers and Internet "Resistors" to hook-up to the Net, according to analysis from Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI).

Said Andy Arthur, MRI VP: "Suggesting a long-term plateau in growth, our data shows there is an entrenched group of non-connected adults and a diehard group of resistors that promise to hold out for the foreseeable future.

"The nature of these Internet holdouts means that future Internet growth, if it materialises, will probably be driven by those who are lower-income, older and more ethnically diverse."

With US Net use at saturation point, any substantial growth in the Net population would need to be prompted either by cheaper Internet connections, more Spanish-language Internet provider services or compelling new reasons for non-users to adopt the Net, such as voice over broadband, said the report. ®

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