One in five Australians prefer not to eat or be without heating or mobile phone than have no Internet access for a day, according to a survey by telecommunications and media firm Telstra Corp. Ltd. released Monday.

In the survey covering 1,250 adults, more men than women, 24 percent against 19 percent, would go hungry than be offline for a day. The survey also found that most Australian homes own at least four Internet-enabled gadgets, with one in five household running all gadgets at once.

Telstra consumer executive director Rebekah O'Flaherty likens the Internet as a utility like gas, electricity and water based on the survey's result.

Peter Schmidt, his wife and their three children is an example of a highly connected family as all, except their three-month-old daughter, use the Internet regularly. The Gold Coast IT worker told the family uses three computers, two iPhones, two iPod Touches, PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Wii, the T-Hub and the T-Box.

Schmidt uses the Internet for his work while his wife uses it for downloading videos. Nine-year-old daughter Georgia and three-year-old son Kyan use a desktop computer and iPods.