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Digital divide worsening in the UK

Almost one in five UK adults sold something online last year, perhaps using auction websites such as eBay

Many people in the UK are being left behind by digital technology, a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

Internet use and online shopping is well established among UK citizens and businesses - almost half of households (45 per cent) had internet access, a digital TV service and at least one mobile phone in 2006. But one in 12 households (8 per cent) did not have access to any of these.

The ONS report, Focus on the Digital Age , showed that almost one in five UK adults (18 per cent) sold something online last year, which was more than double the level in 2003/04.

Household adoption and use of digital technology is closely linked to income, the report showed. In the highest income group, more than 90 per cent of households had internet access, whilst among the lowest income brackets less than 20 per cent had web access at home.

The amount receiving TV and radio digitally also continues to grow ahead of the digital TV switchover which starts in the UK next year. The number of UK households receiving a digital TV service grew to 65 per cent in 2005/06 from 19 per cent in 1996/97.