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The average web-enabled Brit spends 23 hours a week in cyberspace with time online split between an increasingly diverse range of activities.

A survey by internet pollsters YouGov has found, suggest the internet is replacing the television as the nation's preferred way of accessing content. According to communications watchdog Ofcom, people spend an average of 19 hours a week watching television, some four hours less than on the net.

Way back when (ooh, five years ago), people mainly used the net to check email and maybe indulge in a little light websurfing. Now, just eight of the 23 weekly online hours are spent surfing, with online gaming, IP telephony, TV streaming and so on taking up much more time.

Online banking and shopping combined take up less than two hours in a typical week, almost the same amount of time people are now spending making IP phone calls. Email clocks up almost three and a half hours per week.

All this emphasises the challenges facing traditional media outlets and communications companies. The film and music industries are already struggling to fit their businesses around the way the web works, and this survey suggests similar trouble ahead for television and telephone companies.

The YouGov poll was commissioned by price comparison site uSwitch.com, and asked almost 15,000 people about their internet habits.

Faster connection speeds, and increased competition in the broadband sector are thought to be behind the shift. ®

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