In 2009, 18.31 million UK households had Internet access. This represented 70 percent of households and an increase of 1.85 million households since 2008, according to the 2009 National Statistics Opinions (Omnibus) survey.

Of all UK households, 63 percent (16.5 million) had broadband Internet connection in 2009, an increase from 56 percent in 2008. The number of all households with broadband has increased by 6.6 million since 2006.

Of those households with Internet access, 90 percent had a broadband connection in 2009, an increase from 69 percent in 2006.

UK household Internet access 2009

UK Household Internet access 2006-2009

In 2009, the proportion of households able to access the Internet varied between UK regions. The region with the highest level of Internet access was London at 80 percent. Scotland had the lowest proportion of households with Internet access at 62 percent.

The proportion of households with broadband access continued to increase year on year, with 63 percent of all households able to access the Internet through a broadband connection.

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Individuals' use of the Internet 2009

In 2009, 37.4 million adults (76 percent of the UK adult population) accessed the Internet in the three months prior to interview. This was an increase of 10.3 percent (3.5 million adults) from 2008.

Subsequently, the number of adults who had never accessed the Internet fell to 10.2 million adults (21 percent) in 2009.

There has been growth in Internet access by all age groups. Although the youngest age group (those aged 16-24) had the highest level of access, at 96 percent, the largest increase in the proportion of those accessing the Internet was in the oldest age group (65 plus).

Access by those aged 65 plus increased proportionally by 15 percent, compared with an increase of 3 percent for the 16-24 age group.

Men were 8 percentage points more likely to have accessed the Internet in the last three months than women (80 percent compared with 72 percent).

Frequency of use of the Internet 2009

In 2009, the proportion of adults who were recent Internet users - who accessed the Internet every day or almost every day - was 73 percent (27.3 million adults). The 16-24 age group accessed the Internet the most, with 86 percent using it every day or almost every day. The 65 plus age group used it the least, with 52 percent using it every day or almost every day.

UK Internet Use 2009 by age group

UK Internet Use 2009 by age group

The most popular activity of recent Internet users was sending and receiving emails, at 90 percent.

However, 2009 also saw a boom in social networking. 40 percent of recent Internet users stated that they posted messages to chat sites, blogs and newsgroups (up from 20 percent in 2008).

There was an increase from 24 percent to 40 percent of recent Internet users who stated they uploaded self-created content.

The use of the Internet for online audiovisual activities also saw significant developments in 2009.

An increasing number of broadcasters made their content available to web viewers or listeners in 2009, highlighted by the 42 percent of recent users listening to web radio or watching web television. This increased from 34 percent in 2008.

Telephoning over the Internet (or making video calls using webcams) was also a popular activity in 2009, with 21 percent communicating over this medium.

Purchasing over the Internet 2009

In 2009, 64 percent of all recent Internet users had ever purchased goods or services over the Internet. Of these, 83 percent (26 million) had purchased within the last three months, with little difference between the proportions of men and women who made recent purchases.

The proportion of men who made recent purchases remained at the 2008 level of 83 percent, while those made by women continued to rise (by 2 percent) to 82 percent.

Of those men who had purchased goods or services online in the last three months, the most popular item was films and music (52 percent).

However, the most popular purchases made by women were clothes or sporting goods (54 percent). Women were twice as likely to purchase food or groceries online than men (30 percent compared with 15 percent).

Age is also a factor in the types of goods and services purchased online. While the younger age groups favoured purchasing clothes and sports goods, the most popular purchase for the oldest age group were books, magazines, newspapers or e-learning material.

Growth of UK wi-fi hotspots 2009

In 2009, the majority of Internet users accessed the Internet at home (94 percent). However, the number of users accessing the Internet via a wireless hotspot has risen in recent years.

A wireless hotspot is a public area where a wireless Internet connection is provided, common in such places as cafes and airports. While in 2007 just under 700,000 people accessed the Internet via a Wi-Fi hotspot (2 percent of recent Internet users), this rose to almost 2.5 million (6 percent of recent users) in 2009. This coincided with growth in available hotspots, with many pubs and cafes now offering free wireless Internet access.

UK Digital TV 2009

The UK is currently in the process of the digital television switch-over, which is scheduled to be complete by 2012. In 2009, 86 percent of UK households received digital television, with Wales leading the way at 90 percent. Households in London had the lowest level of digital television, at 81 percent.

Internet access and educational qualifications 2009

Almost all adults (95 percent) aged under 70 who had a degree or equivalent qualification were estimated to live in a household with Internet access. Those who had no formal qualifications were least likely to have an Internet connection, at 52 percent.