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At the End of 2013 Some 6.7 Million UK Adults Had Never Gone Online

Wednesday, Feb 19th, 2014 (10:35 am) - Score 519

The Office for National Statistics has released its latest Internet Access Quarterly Update Q4-2013, which reports that 44.3 million adults (87%) in the United Kingdom have gone online (up 1.2 million in the last year) but issues like disability, age, skills and low incomes continue to hold many people back.

It’s good to see how the number of adults that have never gone online via the Internet has decreased over the past quarter from 14% to 13% of the population, which is also down 0.7 million since Q4 2012. But the reasons for this remain complex and mixed.

Overall almost all (99%) 16 to 24 year olds had used the Internet, compared with just over a third (36%) of adults aged over 75 and 69% for those aged 65-74. So age is a factor but location can also play a part. For example, London had the highest proportion of Internet users (90%) but Northern Ireland the lowest (79%), which is despite the latter having the best coverage of superfast broadband in the UK.

Sadly disability remains the single biggest problem area. The estimates show that there were 3.6 million disabled adults who had never used the Internet, which represents 31% of those who were disabled and over half (53%) of the 6.7 million adults who had never gone online. It’s separately noted that people with a Pakistani background had the lowest rate of Internet use (83%), while other ethnicities tended to sit above 90%.

But income can also be a factor. In Q4 2013, 5% (286,000) of adults earning less than £200 per week had never used the Internet but that’s an improvement from 8% at the end of 2011. Indeed today’s market is flushed full of cheaper home broadband and mobile broadband products, which should make personal finances less of a barrier to going online. Not to mention all those free wifi hotspots that keep popping up.

Finally the split between men (89%) who go online and women (85%) remains fairly similar. Of course we shouldn’t forget that some people simply have no interest in surfing the web and are thus best left to their own devices.

Internet Access Quarterly Update Q4-2013 (PDF)

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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