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Reality of Reaching Internet Market Saturation

According to Point Topic, the digital divide is deepening in the UK as those who are interested in internet get switched on, leaving the standouts behind.

The proportion of non-access households which think it is not important to have home access to the internet has increased steeply between mid-2005 and early 2006, from 51.7 to 74.6 percent.

Their latest survey focuses on households that have no internet access, their socio-economic make-up and perception of the world of broadband services. By early 2006, an estimated 11.2 million households in the UK (44 percent) had no internet access at home.

"Many of those who thought it was important to have the internet have signed up to a service already", points out Katja Mueller, Chief Analyst at Point Topic. "As the number of non-access households shrinks, those that are left are increasingly resistant to its appeal. This could prove a high barrier to achieving much higher levels of internet access", she says.

The reasons for not getting internet access fall into three broad groups - lack of need or interest; cost or other material constraints; and lack of the necessary skills. Almost everybody has at least heard of the internet, but only 26 percent of respondents from non-access households believe they have a good knowledge of how to use the internet.

"These are real concerns", says Katja Mueller, "and if they were to be resolved, more households would be able to benefit from getting internet access in the next half a year."

But the barriers are high. Asked to consider how likely they were to get access to the internet in the next 6 months if these obstacles were to be removed, 42.8 percent of households declined to answer. About 16 percent would consider it very likely or fairly likely to get internet access in such circumstances.

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