Broadband News

80% of UK households now have Internet access

The Office for National Statistics is good at doing what it is meant to do and produce statistics. The latest set of Internet Access figures for Great Britain have been published, and show how incredibly digitally connected the UK is.

Key Figures:

  • 21 million households in Great Britain have Internet access, a rise of 3% points since 2011;
  • 93% of households with Internet access using fixed broadband;
  • 30% of households use a fibre or cable broadband service;
  • Households with children are most likely to have Internet access, 95%
  • Households with one adult aged over 65 are least likely to have Internet access, 36% (1.2 million adults);

The ONS does not track actual Internet access speeds, but the figures produced do help to underline how important Internet access is for the majority of the population, and which parts of the population may need the most effort if a goal of total digital inclusion is part of the UK vision as we move through the 21st century.

Household Internet connection, by location, 2012
  Cities and urban areas Towns and suburbs Rural areas All households
DSL broadband 49% 66% 78% 57%
Broadband via cable, fibre, ethernet 36% 25% 12% 30%
Broadband via satellite, public WiFi 7% 6% 5% 6%
Mobile broadband on handset 8% 7% 8% 8%
Mobile broadband via dongle 5% 4% 5% 5%
Dial up access 1% 1% - (*) 1%
Mobile connection (less than 3G) 1% 1% 1% 1%
* - data too small to display

The picture presented by the data, shows what many know already, that the fastest broadband connections are largely the domain of the cities and towns. The thinly populated areas which is the definition of rural used in this study, shows that ADSL is still the dominant connection method. What was interesting is that dial up did not feature in rural areas, perhaps this is because those in rural areas where dial up is the only option and they require Internet access will largely have already joined a satellite broadband service, or be using a mobile broadband connection. Using the EU definitions approximate figures are 13% of the UK population live in rural areas, 27% in towns or suburbs and the other 60% in the cities and urban areas.

It is possible that if good broadband was pushed deeper into the country, that the 80% of households accessing the Internet could be pushed higher, but when 54% of those without access are not interested then this is a difficult proposition. 8% of those without a connection, claim to have access to a connection elsewhere and for 14% cost was a reason for not having Internet access. There is unfortunately no data on broadband not being available, and oddly this has not been collected for some years.


Data on broadband won't be collected by ONS, because they believe ofcom who say 'everyone' has it. well 99.8% or something was their last claim.
Those not using it won't until they see a need, bit like the queen who had a bath every year, whether she needed it or not. Until internet access is easy, fit for purpose and ubiquitous there will always be those not interested. Many try it and are so fed up with its slowness they don't bother again.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 8 years ago

"Many try it and are so fed up with its slowness they don't bother again. " How many? How many vs those who have no interest in computers at all or the Internet

  • GMAN99
  • over 8 years ago

@CD "Data on broadband won't be collected by ONS" So then pray, what exactly is the report about and who was the author? It's an ONS report about broadband access. May I suggest you try reading the various articles before getting on your hobby horse and trotting out your mantra about poor internet access for hill farmers and their sheep.

  • MCM999
  • over 8 years ago

It would be interesting to know how many of the 14% citing cost as an issue were without a fixed phone line.

Those with no interest may not even use a computer. Were IPTV packages popular, I'm sure some would subscribe without even realising what the internet was.

Surely no one would give up internet access due to slow speed unless they had a faster alternative of some kind. After all we did survive the dreary days of dialup and waiting three years for email to download.

  • fibrebunny
  • over 8 years ago

I am intrigued that 12% of households in rural areas seem to be able to get it via cable, fibre or ethernet!

  • wirelesspacman
  • over 8 years ago

That 12% of rural areas may be in the same situation as I am. Villages that are on the periphery of a town or city which has fibred based BB, and that are linked to an urban exchange. These ARE getting cabinets put in and take up is good.

  • themanstan
  • over 8 years ago

I've noticed a lot of people in "not spots" have decent HSPA+ coverage yet don't take it up.

  • otester
  • over 8 years ago

MCN999 I read all the articles.
In the article above it clearly states ONS does not track actual speeds, they go off the stats.
How many hill farmers do you know?
Lots round where I live, but I live in rural area. If you live in urban your perception may be different. I would say 80-90% really want it, v 10-20% not interested, inc some who haven't a clue what it is, because they have never seen it, due to lack of access, age, health etc.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 8 years ago

@cyberdoyle I'll be frank and suggest you live perhaps in the more difficult final 1% of the UK.

As part of the overall puzzle the ONS data does fill some gaps, and generally has no particular agenda to lean towards. Defra has some info on hill farmers.

200,000 in sparse upload locations across whole UK

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

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