We may not be the happiest broadband users in the world, but more and more of us are getting online - not matter how awful our services...
Figures from the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) show as of May 2010 we have now reached 38.8m active web users, an increase of five per cent since the same time last year. This works out as approximately two thirds of the circa 60m population.
Perhaps most interesting in this is the biggest gain was seen in the over 50s - the so-called 'Silver Surfers' - who were responsible for a whopping one million of the 1.9m annual increase. Men dominated this older group accounting for 722,000 new connections with women over fifty the second largest mover with 284,000 additional users.
"The Internet is getting older in more ways than one," said Alex Burmaster speaking on behalf of UKOM/Nielsen. "Not only is the medium itself maturing but the audience is shifting towards older age groups. This growth is a reminder, if one was still needed, that it is very much a form of media utilised by all age groups. The fact that one in four Britons who use the Internet today are 50 to 64 years old proves it is no longer the sole preserve of the young and technical literati."
I feel very strongly about encouraging older citizens to embrace the Internet and we touch upon this topic in our impending sixth TrustedReviews podcast (keep your eyes peeled). The crux of my argument is - despite all its ills - the Internet is a good thing. It helps users better keep in touch with friends and family and, in the case of much older surfers, can open virtual doors onto places they may no longer be able to visit in real life.
In fact, I'd argue the Internet is more important for this age group than younger generations who can kick a football, go for a run and generally get out and about. I, for one, know that when I get old I'll be throwing myself into a virtual world where I'm as mobile as Usain Bolt wearing a jet pack. And I'll still thrash you all at Pro Evo Soccer...
UKOM Press Release (PDF Warming)