Widespread technophobia about the internet is preventing brokers from developing their own websites, according to an independent survey.

The research found only 20% of small independent intermediaries currently have their own website, while a mere 35% are web-connected. This leaves a staggering 45% with no contact with the internet.

However, the situation is changing, as 62% of brokers questioned said they intended to develop their own website eventually and 8% are aiming to become web connected. Most brokers said the web would increasingly become their preferred way of doing business.

This still leaves a significant minority of 30% steadfastly refusing to connect their businesses to the internet.

The report's author Samuel Knight, of marketing consultancy Clear Blue Sky, believes a deep-seated fear of the internet lies behind the survey.

"Extreme technophobia appears to lie behind brokers' lack of interest in the internet. Basically a lot of them are frightened of the web, and have formed the negative impression that it requires a lot of investment to get on line, but this is not always the case," he said. "They are also worried about being locked into long-term agreements with software providers."