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BizReport : Internet : May 23, 2013

ONS data reveals the U.K.'s 7.1 million disconnected

In the first quarter of 2013, 326,000 Brits went online for the very first time. However, according to new figures released by the UK's Office for National Statistics, more than seven million adults in the country have never used the Internet.

by Helen Leggatt

Latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Internet Access Quarterly Update reveal that 14% of the population of Britain has never used the Internet.

Unsurprisingly, when broken down by age, the figures show that almost all (99%) of 16-24-year-olds use the Internet. Instead, it's the elderly and disabled that are disconnected.

The findings, based on responses to the question "when did you last use the internet?", reveal that it's those over 75 years of age that is the most disconnected demographic. Just over a third (34.4%) had ever been online.

The U.K. has one of the lowest rates of over-55s online, according to recent research from IAB Europe. While the percentage of silver surfers online in Norway is 75%, in Sweden 73% and in the Netherlands and Switzerland 72%, it drops to just 55% in the U.K.

However, there are promising signs in the ONS figures. In 2011, 23.8% of over-75s in the UK had accessed the Internet. This figure has improved and the recent figures show that 34.3% now log on - a increase of 1.6 million people.

In the first quarter of 2013, there were 3.7 million disabled adults who had never used the Internet. That figure represents 32% of those who are disabled, and 53% of the 7.1 million adults who have never used the Internet.

As well as age, income plays a role in whether a person has access to the Internet. The ONS survey found that over 5% of workers with a gross weekly income of less than £200 ($300) have never used the Internet. That compares with Internet use among earners of £500 ($750) or more per week at 98%.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Internet access, population statistics, silver surfer, U.K

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