Millions don't want to go online

More than two-fifths (43 per cent) of adults who do not have access to the internet at home say that they would choose to remain unconnected even if they were given a free PC and broadband connection, research revealed today.

The research comes ahead of the Government's Digital Britain report, to be published soon, which will develop the idea of universal broadband in the UK.

But it is not all depressing reading for the Government.

Ofcom's survey found that one in five adults who do not have the internet plan to go online in the next six months.

The new figures show that 70 per cent of UK adults now have the internet at home. The research looked at reasons why 30 per cent of UK adults do not have the internet at home and the barriers that prevent them from taking it up in the future.

Those intending to get the internet in the next six months are more likely to be younger, to use the internet already outside of the home, to be working and to have children, the research revealed.

Their main reason for accessing the internet is for information (36 per cent), followed by communicating with friends and family (26 per cent), keeping up with technology (25 per cent), and because friends and family recommended it (25 per cent).

But 42 per cent of adults stated that their main reason for not having the internet at home was lack of interest or need.

The self-excluded tend to be older and retired and 61 per cent have never used a computer, the research revealed.

Some also felt they were too old or believed that it is for younger people.

And 30% of adults said their main reason for not accessing the internet at home was that it was too expensive or they did not have the knowledge or skills to use it.

Half of respondents in this group (5 per cent) gave as their main reason expense, while just under three in ten (27 per cent) said the cost of a computer or not owning a computer was their main reason for not having an internet connection.

Ofcom's partner for strategy and market development, Peter Phillips, said broadband was becoming increasingly important for people to participate in the economy and society.

He said: "The research shows some genuine opportunities for policymakers 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."

Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.

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