STAFF REPORTER

THERE are internet connections in 63.7 percent of homes in the Balearic Islands, 63.4 percent in the case of Majorca, the regional government confirmed yesterday.

Carles Manera, Minister for the Economy and Tax, and Pilar Costa, his counterpart in Innovation, Interior and Justice were yesterday revealing the results of a study on the use of the Internet in the Balearics and to what extent its networks are operating in the Islands. Surveys showed that the facility is most common in high income homes where householders have a history of higher education.

The development of the Internet, said Manera and Costa, has been spectacular. Just six years ago, when the first Youtube video was about to be launched and when the future creator of Facebook was finishing his studies at Harvard, just 39.7 percent of homes in the Balearics used the Internet.

Since that time, the demand has soared by 200 percent, but even on Majorca, the use of the Internet is unevenly spread. In the central area of the island known as the Pla (plain), just over 44 percent of homes have a connection, but in the Tramuntana mountain region the figure rises to 70.9 percent and to 67.8 percent across the Bay of Palma.

The same research showed that the number of homes with a computer in the Balearics is similarly disparate. Only 53.3 percent of Majorcans can lay claim to a table top computer or a laptop.

The figure contrasts sharply with people on the island of Formentera where 70 percent of the population has a computer. But here, people apparently prefer to connect to the internet on public sites and only 56.5 percent can go on-line from their own homes.

Both Manera and Costa pointed out yesterday that only 25 percent of internet users in Majorca had made use of the regional government's on-line services. But more than 42 percent of surfers have made a purchase on the internet over the past year; 31.7 percent of Majorcans paid for hostelry and tourism services using the internet, tickets to shows and concerts (30.8 percent) and clothes and accessories (24.1 percent).

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