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65% of UK Homes Now Online

Gordon Kelly


65% of UK Homes Now Online

Those of us with a strong techie heart no doubt have a vision of the future where everyone is seamlessly connected to the Internet, but it appears we're living in something of a self indulgent bubble...

According to newly released figures by the Office for National Statistics, the UK has reached a new high where 65 per cent of the population (or 16.46m) homes now have access to the Internet. As you might expect broadband took up the vast majority of this too with 86 per cent of those who have home Internet using a broadband connection (a noticeable contradiction however on the ONS's previous figures.

Of course there is a flip side to this coin however and that is home Internet access in the UK has only improved by four per cent compared to last year while the overall percentage of the UK population using broadband to access the web is up just five per cent to 56 per cent despite services being cheaper than ever.

So what's the differentiator? Comment-chaos-causing this may be but the ONS says the key factor is education. Of adults under 70 who have a degree or equivalent qualification it says an incredible 93 per cent have Internet access in their home. For those under 70 without this scholarly achievement in their locker the figure is just 56 per cent.

What can we draw from this? Personally I'd say the picture isn't quite as clear as obvious: smart people use the Internet.

Instead numerous factors come into play such as the current Credit Crunch the extra money graduates tend to earn may be allow them to keep so-called luxuries. How about people living in rented accommodation? Financially again that number is likely to have a slightly higher proportion of people without degrees and they may be less inclined to wire up a place they view as temporary. Then there's grey areas like students who get free Internet access at University which takes away some of the need to have it at home - plus they're broke!

In all likelihood this is just the tip of the iceberg too... and yes ONS, education is another factor.

Still, it seems a shame that this overall 65 per cent figure isn't higher (or rising more quickly) since the Internet can greatly improve and facilitate people's everyday lives if they know how to use it correctly.

Any ideas for spreading the Webby love?


ONS Broadband Report


August 27, 2008, 1:16 pm

When I was at university, loads of my friends didn't have internet access at home because of the annoying 12 month contracts and the fact they could go on campus to get access. I see a similar situation with a number of professionals I know - they have internet access at work and when they get home they want to switch off, so don't have it at home. I don't think I know a single person who isn't affected by, or doesn't have access the internet on a semi-regular basis. It would interesting to see what the stats would be if you exclude everyone over 70.

Personally, I don't have a phone line, cable or internet in my home. But I have 3G on my phone and I borrow (with permission) my neighbours wireless. How would I have come out on the survey?


August 27, 2008, 2:30 pm

I rent, but I have internet set up. It's a 12 month contract, and a 12 month rental contract, so it works out ok.

I think that reducing the cost of decent speed broadband would help "spread the love". Introduction of a pay-as-you-go tarif, like they used to have with dial-up would help too. I think some people don't want to pay a fixed amount every month for something they would only use every so often.

Improving speeds would encourage those of us not living in built-up areas to consider a broadband connection something usefull, as opposed to a luxery.


August 27, 2008, 2:57 pm

I remember when I was at Uni. we had internet in our house simply because 2 out of 5 of us were geeks so we cabled the house and set up a homebuilt router, plus it only worked out to be a couple of quid a month from ntl (not Virgin back then) spread amongst five.

Also found in the ONS report is the statistic that "in the 35% of households with no access, there was an increase in the proportion that said they did not want the internet at home, from 3% in 2006 to 24% in 2008". Which I find quite interesting, and backs up the previous comment about people coming back from work and wanting to switch off.

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