Taichung City was rated as the most digitized city in the country this year for the first time, with more than 81 percent of residents having used computers and 77 percent having used the Internet, according to the results of an annual survey on the country's digital divide released yesterday.
In terms of digitization, Hsinchu City and Taipei City were ranked second and third, respectively. Taipei was ranked as the country's most digitized city in 2008.
The survey conducted by the Cabinet-level Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) found that 67.6 percent of people above the age of 12 in Taiwan have accessed the Internet, representing little change from 68.5 percent recorded the previous year.
Based on the results of the survey, RDEC Minister Chu Chin-peng said during a press conference that Taiwan's wired population is estimated to be close to 14 million, compared to 13.71 million last year.
The RDEC pointed that although 78 out of every 100 households have access to the Internet, the connection rate for Taiwanese households remained little changed compared to 2008.
Among households with Internet connections, one in every three households considers connection fees to be a heavy financial burden, showing that fees are one of the barriers preventing more families from upgrading their information environment.
The results show that Internet users spend an average of 2.95 hours a day on the Internet -- nine minutes more than the average of 2.8 hours last year.
They also show that 67.1 percent of respondents in the 41-50 age group are Internet users, up from 64.2 percent last year, while the rate of Internet use in the 51-60 age group has edged down from 40.5 percent to 37.8 percent.
Among the Internet users, 52 percent have mobile phones with Internet connection, 38.2 percent have notebooks with Internet connection, and 9.9 percent have PDAs with Internet access.
However, 75 percent of Internet users said they do not use their mobile phones for Internet access, even though they believe that is a future trend, with 31 percent of the respondents citing high costs as the reason preventing them from using this service.
The survey results also show that Internet connection fees would need to be reduced to NT$500 monthly per household in order to reduce the financial burden on citizens and help attain the goal of providing universal Internet access.
The survey was carried out between July 13 and Aug. 21 among 16,133 people via telephone. It had a margin of error of 0.8 percentage points.
From China Post