The UK's digital divide is in danger of becoming a digital gulf, unless broadband adoption rates increase, it has been claimed.
According to the Communications Consumer Panel (CCP), a significant minority of people risk being excluded from online benefits and services.
The body is calling for clear targets to assess the progress being made in supporting people to get and stay online - particularly those who have never used the internet.
CCP Chair Bob Warner called on the government to "strike a better balance" between funding for broadband infrastructure and supporting people online.
"Sustainable growth for the future can only be achieved if broadband is used by most consumers and businesses," he stated.
"The distance is increasing between consumers who are online, with access to new services and faster broadband, and people who remain anchored in the offline world."
Mr Warner called for "fundamental action" to be taken to give people the skills to exploit the advantages of the internet.