Internet still a luxury for most of Russians

Despite heavy advertising by Internet service providers, the vast majority of Russians have never used the World Wide Web and most do not have access to personal computers say the results of a poll released Sunday. According to ROMIR, an independent research centre, most Russians do not operate personal computers and those that do mostly have access to them at their workplaces. Out of 2,000 persons polled, 74 percent had never used a PC, while the remaining 25.5 percent use one on a more or less regular basis. Most computer users - 34.5 percent-use computers at work, while nearly 28 percent have access to PCs at school or college. Other users have cited relatives' homes, libraries and Internet-cafes as the places where they became acquainted with computers. Only 15.8 percent of all those polled have computers in their own homes. The picture with Internet-users is even less optimistic - only a quarter of those polled had surfed the web at least once, while the remainder of respondents had no idea how the Internet worked. Among those that use the informational superhighway, only 7.7 do so on a daily basis, while nearly a third of Internet users log on to the web for an average 2 to 6 times a week. The workplace tops the list of locations where an Internet user enters the net. Around 15.5 percent of those who own PCs connect to the Internet via modems in their homes. Public libraries account for 3.6 percent of web surfers, while Internet-cafes host about 2.3 percent of those who use the net. The great majority of Web users - 73 percent cited communication with relatives and friends as the main purpose of using the Internet, the UPI news agency reports.

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