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August 26, 2008

Two-thirds of UK homes now online

More background news about the penetration of Internet access into UK homes, this time from the Office for National Statistics, via the BBC.  The two-thirds proportion is pretty much as expected but I was surprised by the figure quoted towards the end of the article, which appears to indicate a big jump in the number of households that explicitly said they did not want Internet access:

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.

It'd be interesting to know why.

Two-thirds of us (adults) now go online every day in the UK (men more often than women).


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Hmmm. So that's 1 in 12 households who don't want it. Suppose logically, when everyone who wants it has net access, it will be "100% of households with no access said they didn't want it".

There's a bit of this that bothers - how can a "household" not want net access? Does that mean *everyone* in the house doesn't want it (sceptical), or that the one person who answered the survey doesn't want it (more likely).

From speaking to a lot of older people, there does seem to be a block of 50+ year old people that are firming up into non-online people. Replies when I've asked them why not frequently start with "I read that ..." or "I saw on the news that ..." followed by some negative scare story about the Internet / technology in general.

Some news outlets are worse than others. It would be really interesting to see "Net access" correlated against "Main source of news". I'd be betting that there are a much higher proportion of non-net users who watch e.g. ITN news (which is relentlessly negative about all things net) than read e.g. The Guardian or Independent.

Households not wanting it ... there are quite a lot of one person households. Clearly, they don't have to agree with someone else.

Wonder how many of the "don't want" are really "can't afford" ...

Also, as John pointed out, the 3% & 24% may be the *same* people. It's just they're now a higher proportion.

On a related note, I read something about what they're now called "digital refuseniks" .. actively rejecting an online presence. Perhaps they've increased in proportion.

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