Internet usage doubles in 10 years, Ofcom reveals

Those aged over 16 spend an average of 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week

Internet usage has doubled in the last decade, an Ofcom study has revealed.

People aged over 16 now spend an average of 20 and a half hours online every single week, compared to nine hours and 54 minutes a week in 2005, the regulator said.

Those aged between 16 and 24 spend the most time online, clocking in at 27 hours and 36 minutes at the end of 2014. This compares to 10 hours and 24 minutes a week ten years ago.

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The reason for this huge jump is the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, meaning almost anyone can get online from anywhere.

According to the watchdog, only 30 per cent of adults owned a smartphone in 2010, yet 66 per cent of us now have one.

Similarly, only five per cent of adults used a tablet ten years ago, but 14 years later 39 per cent use a tablet to surf the internet.

The most popular internet activities include watching videos, playing games, IM and social media. In fact, now mobiles are the most popular way to pass time by playing a game, replacing the console

Double the number of people are watching videos on their mobile device too. The number of people using a mobile to watch video content has increased from 21 per cent to 39 per cent of internet users.

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Free messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber has driven an increase in the number of people using social networks on their mobile, with usage tripling since 2007.

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The research would go some way to justifying a digital single market to build regulatory framework that aims to give everyone the same access to online services, wherever they reside in Europe.

Guest editor's view

TechUK CEO Julian David says: This huge increase in internet usage demonstrates just how crucial the digital economy is to all our lives, but this is just looking at people interacting with the internet. Over the next 10 years there will be an equal or even greater explosion of internet usage by things - cars, trains, buildings, bridges, you name it - as the UK becomes a smarter country. So we need a step change in Infrastructure Investment to support this and keep the UK as the leading internet economy.

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