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An increasing number of UK adults are embracing the internet, and signing up for broadband deals, government figures have suggested.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that 41.62 million UK adults have now gone online, up from 41.26 million in the second quarter of 2011.

And the estimated rise of 36,000 web users between Q2 and Q3 eclipsed the 12,000 increase between the first and second quarters of the year.

The ONS believes that just 8.43 million people - or 16.8 per cent of the UK adult population - have never used the internet.

Jonathan Stearn, spokesperson for Consumer Focus, said the latest figures were "good news", however a big challenge clearly remains in getting the whole of the UK online.

"A growing gap exists between those who are online and those who are not, as the internet becomes more of an essential utility for consumers," he stated.

"The best deals are often online only and people could save hundreds of pounds each year by accessing these online discounts."

But unfortunately the poorest and most vulnerable customers who could benefit most from these savings are less likely to be able to access them online, Mr Stearn added.

He called on the government to provide "even more targeted support" to those who lose out the most by remaining offline.

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