How Many People Are Online In The UK?
The UK’s digital divide narrowed during the coronavirus pandemic, as people have gone online to escape the lockdown, Ofcom research suggests.
The proportion of homes without internet access appears to have fallen from 11% in March 2020, as the UK entered lockdown, to 6% of homes – around one and a half million – in March this year.
Adults with previously limited digital skills have embraced online shopping, digital banking and video calling friends and relatives – while younger people acted as IT support, helping older or less digitally-confident friends and relatives get connected.
But despite many more people taking a leap of faith into the online world, for those households who remain offline, digital exclusion during lockdown is likely to be more disempowering than ever.
Groups least likely to have home internet access are those aged 65+ (18% without access), lower income households (11% without access), and the most financially vulnerable (10% without access). Almost half of adults who remain offline say they find the internet too complicated (46%), or it holds no interest for them (42%). For others (37%), a lack of equipment is a barrier.
Additionally, around one in five children (17%) did not have consistent access to a suitable device for their online home-learning. This increased to 27% of children from households classed as most financially vulnerable.
So, these finding were made by OFCOM. They are encouraging – but, Digital poverty does not just stop at having Broadband. We need to enable the training for people to use the web.