Surfing the Net in the UK is still a pastime reserved for anoraks and technophiles, but the situation is changing fast.
According to figures published this month by market information company Key Note, only three per cent of homes will be connected to the Internet by the end of this year, but the company predicts the market for home Internet services will rise steadily. By the end of next year, four per cent of households will be connected and this figure will rise to 12 per cent by 2000.
The profile of the average Internet user will also change significantly, says Keynote. The Internet will cease to be a plaything of the well-off and will be used by people from all walks of life.
Keynote predicts the total value of the home Internet market is likely to be #336 million in 1997, more than doubling by the turn of the century. Average fees paid to service providers will remain static at #180 per home per year but the total fees collected will increase steadily, as usage increases, from #162 million in 1997 to #468 million by the millennium. Telephone charges are also likely to remain stable at an average of #110 per home per year, while the cost of a modem will remain at an average #150.
Acceptance of the Internet in the UK is still lagging well behind the US though, where by September this year 14 per cent of homes were online.
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