Viewed separately, home Internet access accounted for 58 percent, or 162 million people, a Nielsen/NetRatings report has found. Internet penetration at work consisted of 14 percent of all Web access, or 41 million office workers. That compares to year-ago figures of home penetration at 45 percent, or 123 million people, and at-work access at 12 percent, or 33 million Web surfers.
The Nielsen/NetRatings study reinforces a growing body of evidence that shows the Internet is increasingly becoming part of consumers' everyday lives in the United States. People are going beyond researching information on the Internet to conducting other daily activities or transactions, such as filing taxes and shopping.
"At the core of everything involved in the Internet, we are still seeing growth," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. "More people are coming to the Net because of what it provides for them--for information and communication."
Weiner said that despite the increase in Internet penetration, the Web still needs a dose of "entrepreneurial behavior" to get people interested in the medium.
"The Web has not reached a utility standpoint, like the telephone and TV," Weiner said. "I think what the market needs is the next killer application, something to excite people, to generate a whole new round of interest as the Web reaches maturation."