MORE than three million people in France have joined the internet for the first time this year, bringing the total number of web users to 39.5 million or 73% of the population.
New figures from media research group Médiamétrie show the ratio of women to men has evened out and that the generation gap is also closing.
Much of the online growth has come from an increasing number of "silver surfers" - people aged 50 and over, who now account for 30% of all web users.
According to Médiamétrie, internet access is also becoming more prevalent among lower socio-economic groups in France.
The study also found that 22 million French people use online banking (56%), some 52% said they watched videos online and 47% used instant messaging.
The full report can be found (in French) at this link.