UK Internet Usage On The Rise As Country Gets More Connected

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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However a recent report shows that 6.7 million UK adults have still never ever used the internet

Internet usage in the UK has increased significantly over the last few months as more of the population gets connected, according to a recent report.

The latest Internet Access Quarterly Update from the Office for National Statistics noted that 44.3 million adults in the UK had used the Internet at some point during the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 1.2 million since Q4 2012 and equivalent to 87 percent of the total population.

However the report, which monitors the usage of UK residents over the age of 16, also found that 6.7 million adults in the UK have never used the Internet, which equates to around 13 percent of the total population.

Tablet PC - Senior Couple Laughing © Lisa F. Young - FotoliaGeneration gap

Unsurprisingly, young people lead the way when it comes to Internet usage, with almost all of 16 to 24 year olds having been online. Just 31,000 people in this age group recorded no Internet usage.

This is in sharp contrast to just over a third of adults aged over 75, where only 36 percent have used the Internet in the past year. Of the 6.7 million adults who had never used the Internet, 45 percent (3 million) were aged 75 years and over.

This figure still suggests gradual improvement, as the proportion of adults aged 75 years and over who have ever used the Internet has increased by seven percent since the end of 2011.

The report also found a slight gender bias in Internet usage, with 89 percent of men surveyed saying they had accessed the Internet in the period, compared to 85 percent of women.

There were significant regional differences throughout the UK. Perhaps unsurprisingly, London recorded the highest proportion of Internet users, with 90 percent of residents, followed by the South East (89 percent) and East of England (88 percent).

Northern Ireland was ranked the lowest in the poll, with only 79 percent of residents accessing the Internet. 20.6 percent of the Northern Irish population said they had never browsed the Web, the highest of any region. This is despite gaining 4G access last year from EE, although the network confirmed the speeds recorded in the city were significantly lower than those available in both London and Edinburgh.

The continued rise of smart devices is likely to be one of the major reasons behind the increase in Internet use, with recent statistics showing that over half of the UK populace has access to some kind of tablet device.

This is only likely to increase, as more and more of us embrace mobile devices which should see the amount of data exchanged worldwide skyrocket. A recent Cisco report estimated that the number of mobile device users worldwide will rise to 4.9 billion by 2018.

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