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24% of those in the UK without internet access do not want it
Thursday 28 August 2008 13:14:42 by Andrew Ferguson

The Office of National Statistics has published its 2008 Internet Access, Households and Individuals report, which reveals that some 65 per cent of UK households have Internet access, and 86% use a broadband connection. This figure is showing a steady rise year on year since records started in 2002, but research into the 35% without Internet access reveals that many may not want or need Internet access at home. The full report can be downloaded as a PDF document from

It could be said that Internet access is an essential of modern life and for some people it is. There is a danger that some may feel the need to convert people to the Internet which goes against the grain of what many see as the freedom of the Internet. Certainly as local councils and health authorities embrace online services to reduce costs and just maybe improve services, they need to ensure that those unable to go online are not disadvantaged. The reasons given by those without Internet access at home are listed below:

  • Don't need Internet 34%
  • Don't want Internet 24%
  • Equipment costs are too high 15%
  • Lack of skills 15%
  • Access costs are too high 11%
  • Have access to Internet elsewhere 10%

The report looks into what we as a nation use our Internet connections for, and it is no surprise to see 87% of us send and receive emails, and 49% use it for Internet banking. Where we do all of this is mainly in the home (90%) but hotspots (Wi-Fi) has shown a three point jump from 2% to 5% for the places where people access the Internet. Looking at what people actually do with their connections is interesting and the tables for advanced services are reproduced below.

Activity Male Female All
Use of Instant Messaging 31% 26% 29%
Reading weblogs (or blogs) 26% 16% 21%
Posting messages to chat sites, newsgroups etc 23% 17% 20%
Video calls (via webcam) 14% 10% 12%
Telephoning 12% 8% 10%
Creating or maintaining own weblog (or blog) 6% 8% 7%
None of the above 49% 58% 53%
Communication over the Internet by recent users, by sex, UK, 2008
Activity Male Female All
Downloading or listening to music (other than web radio) 43% 33% 38%
Listening to web radios or watching web television 41% 27% 34%
Uploading self-created content (text, images, photo, video) 25% 24% 24%
Downloading or watching movies, short films or videos 29% 17% 23%
Downloading computer or video games or their updates 29% 17% 23%
Using peer to peer file sharing for exchange of movies, music, video files 16% 9% 12%
Using browser based news feeds (e.g. RSS) 17% 7% 12%
Playing networked games with others 13% 7% 10%
Using podcast services to automatically receive audio or video files 13% 5% 9%
None of the above 35% 47% 40%
Audiovisual content over the Internet by recent users, by sex, UK, 2008

The tables above show the diverse nature of what we all do with our broadband connections, and how hard it is to define average Internet usage. For example someone who just reads email and a bit of online news may struggle to use up 1GB (gigabyte) of data allowance in a month, but someone listening to web radio all day every day may use up 7GB. Someone watching movies could be managing anything from 20GB to 100's of GB in the month.

For many people the Internet has replaced the high street travel agent, and some 48% of us who have made a purchase over the Internet have purchased accommodation, a holiday or travel. The figures for how much we spend online has been relatively static over the last three years, with 22% spending more than £500 which suggests the real money may not be in selling us the basic connections, but all the goods and services we subsequently purchase.


Posted by fusen over 8 years ago
this is one of the reasons why I think FUPs and low caps won't really go away, sure I and many others do over 100GB transfer a month but the majority of the country probably do even get close to 10% of that.

It's like the same old story from ISPs that the top 5% of users use up 90% of the bandwidth.

Until everyone starts using their connections for more than just the odd website and becomes a bandwidth hungry user that we will be stuck with FUPs and caps that are constantly moaned at on the forums :P
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
LOL at the None of the above figures LOL
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
People use the web for porn, Carpet's surprised, poll planners need better polls, news at 11.
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
Well wimmins seem to be doing far less of everything save 2% of us doing more blogging than the men it seems... I'm curious as to what other women are up to on the internet lol
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"People use the web for porn, Carpet's surprised, poll planners need better polls, news at 11."

LMAO even more at that remark.... So by that logic its more the girlies than the blokes downloading porn daily LOL
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
Whats the difference between the dont want and dont need, someone not wanting it will be because they dont need it. I am also amazed some people say broadband is too expensive so dont get for that reason, compared to things like electricity and mobiles broadband is dirt cheap.
Posted by robbieglover2k7 over 8 years ago
I agree with chrysalis, people spend so much more on mobile phone bills & top ups than a broadband connection would ever come close to, broadband now is very affordable, more so than a landline phone (which is needed for most broadband admittidely)

I only pay £7.50 per month for my Broadband on O2 & the deal with that is top phone up £10 in 3 months (I do that every month anyway) as its all i need, it's not expensive or unnafordable, thats why packages are made up too.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Some are too busy just earning enough to live, to actually use it.. I know someone who is too busy even to watch some tv... :( :( - wake up, get brk for family, goto work, get home, get dinner for family, try to watch tv, fall asleep...

People cannot count that easily, most cannot learn that easily...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
robbieglover2k7: and then there is the charge for the telephone line!

also, if you are forgetting about the 'package deal' then that means you can get it for 4.50 from VM, or FREE from SKY!!
Posted by maximise over 8 years ago
Perhaps a significant usage of the internet has been omitted? The government insists that all school pupils should have remote access (invariably from home) in order to continue their studies (homework etc) and that parents should have access to check up on progress and attendance etc. We should therefore have a base-line record of home/educational usage if we are to be able to identify any progress in this area.
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