New research published by Ofcom today predicts that 75% of UK households will be online by the end 2009.
Currently, 70% of UK adults have internet access at home: the remaining 30% fall into two main groups – the self-excluded and the financially-excluded.
Self-excluded people tend to be older, retired, adults – indeed, 61% of this group said they have never used a computer. Among the financially-excluded were a section of adults (30%) who said the internet was too expensive. 27% of respondents in the financially-excluded group said the cost of a computer was their main reason for not having internet at home. In addition, concern about not being able to afford monthly internet payments was cited as a factor that prevented some respondents from having internet access at home.
The 5% of UK adults who intend to get the internet in the next six months are more likely to be younger and working, use the internet already outside of the home and have children.
The main reasons cited for getting internet access were to source information (36%) followed by social networking (26%), keeping up with technology (25%) and because friends and family recommended it (25%).
Today’s findings will soon be followed up by the Government’s forthcoming Digital Britain report, which will explore the concept of universal broadband access. Ofcom’s Partner for Strategy and Market Development, Peter Phillips, said: “Broadband is becoming increasingly important to peoples’ ability to participate in the economy and society.
“The research shows some genuine opportunities for policy makers wishing to drive take up of internet services. But it also shows that some creativity will be required if we wish to capture the imaginations of those who have yet to engage with the benefits the internet may bring.”