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Net use soars but class split remains ...
Net use soars but class split remains

There has been a 15% increase in subscriptions to the internet over the past year, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

Numbers fell in the second quarter

of 2001, prompting fears that internet use was plummeting. But the latest figures show the overall direction of change is up.

Most connections are dial-up ones, but permanent connections are increasing their share. They made up 3.9% of subscriptions in March this year, compared to 3.5% at the beginning of the quarter.

Glyn Evans, head of the Society of IT Management information age group, said: 'Any increase is welcome but the crucial thing remains the age and the social class break-down which will still show quite a marked divide.'

Staffs is 'fair', say inspectors

Staffordshire CC's progress on electronic communications is

'fair' but it needs more

co-ordination, one of the Audit Commission's first inspections on the subject has concluded.

Staffordshire CC was found to have made some progress towards the 2005 deadline and was given one star to reflect this.

Its strengths include effective partnerships and consultation.

But the commission said a 'fundamental culture change' would be necessary for the council to achieve its vision.

Commissioning inspector Mary Perry said: 'The council has made a fair start. It will be necessary to tackle a lack of internal co-operation and co-ordination.'

Queen to take on soccer online

Westminster City Council is using the internet to canvass opinion on the burning issue of the summer - Jubilee or World Cup?

The online survey is kicking off with a contest between the monarchy and sport. It will ask residents which they think is more important. But later the council will use the findings to research more serious topics such as congestion charging and planning.

Grid to cross digital divide

New technology is to be made available for ethnic minority communities in Southwark LBC.

The£90,000 scheme, funded by the New Opportunities Fund, is part of a£100m national strategy to break down the digital divide by providing free computer access and training.

The Southwark centre will help people whose first language is not English to use computers.

Southwark's community grid for learning will be set up in Bengali, Gujarati, Arabic, Somali, Turkish, French, Vietnamese and Cantonese.

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