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Digital trends Internet becomes more important for sceptical Swiss

Practically everyone in Switzerland can get access to the internet

(Keystone)

The internet has overtaken traditional forms of media (print, radio and television) as the primary source of information for the Swiss. But despite only 7% of the population having no online access whatsoever, a survey has found continuing data security distrust.

Some 88% of the Swiss population is online, according to the latest survey of digital trends undertaken by the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich. In the 2013 version of the same survey, the figure was 85%.

This year, researchers also found that a further 5% of the population could access online information by asking someone else to look it up from them. This means that only 7% of Swiss do not have any access at all to the internet.

Respondents to the survey reported for the first time that they preferred to use the internet to gather information, rather than getting it from newspapers, books, the radio or television. The average number of hours per week spent surfing has risen from 12.3 in 2011 to 22.3 this year.

The report also found an explosion in numbers of people surfing on the move via smartphones. The percentage increased to 72% from 46% in 2013 and just 20% in 2011.

But scepticism about data security remains high. Eight out of every ten Swiss surveyed said they had serious concerns about their privacy when surfing the internet. The vast majority of respondents also preferred not to discuss their political preferences online.

The survey, carried out for the World Internet Project (WIP), asked 1,121 people about their digital habits.

A 2013 international comparison WIP report did not include Switzerland, but found a mixed rate of internet usage among the countries included in the survey. Sweden (87%) and the United States (85%) led the way with South Africa (33%) having the smallest proportion of surfers.

Switzerland has the tenth best broadband internet coverage of all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Some 70.8% of Swiss households have broadband access, according to OECD figures released this year. South Korea, with 97.5%, was the best connected.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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