The government needs to highlight more benefits of the internet, such as finding bargains on eBay, in a bid to encourage unconnected Brits to get online, says Consumer Focus.

According to the watchdog's 'Broadband Minded report', 'low-income' Brits, or those earning less than £11,500 per year, who don't already have access to the web at home have ''limited motivation'' to get online.

Consumer Focus said that while the cost of connection remains an issue, there are a number of other issues that are stopping those on a lower income getting online.

These include concerns over personal data security, viruses and even how using the web will affect face-to-face communication with friends and family.

"The government has made it a priority to encourage people to get online, especially those on low incomes," said Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus.

"Cost is not the only issue and if the government wants more people online they need to deal with consumers' fears about the internet such as the dangers of identity theft and viruses."

Consumer Focus said the government should focus on the benefits of the web to low income consumers, such as the ability to make money through eBay, or find a job online.

The watchdog said a more targeted approach was likely to encourage the take up of home internet services by the poorest households.

See also: 20% of unconnected Brits to get online by 2010