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Nine million Brits have never been online

Elderly and poor least likely to surf the web

More than nine million UK adults have never used the web, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

According to the research body, more than 38 million Brits are online and 30 million of those log-on every day.

However, despite efforts by the government and Martha Lane-Fox, who was appointed UK Digital Champion under the previous Labour government, the elderly, the widowed and people on lower incomes are among those that have yet to experience the delights of the web.

Less than a third of those that earn less than £10,399 per year said they had surfed the web compared with 98 percent of Brits that earn over £41,600. Furthermore, 97 percent of Brits with a degree had used the web compared with less than half (45 percent) of those without any formal qualifications.

The ONS also revealed a million 'silver surfers' or Brits over 60 have logged on in the past year, while 31 million web users have bought goods or services online in the same period.

"Since 2006 we have seen a significant increase in the number of people using the internet, with the number of adults accessing the Internet every day almost doubling to just over 30 million, though the UK is some way off from being completely online," said

"Usage is closely linked with a number of socio-economic and demographic indicators with those less educated and on lower incomes less likely to access the web."

However, Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, told The Guardian that older people could be missing out by not getting online.

"While many older people are embracing the benefits of getting online - such as keeping up with friends and family more easily and making savings online - many people in later life are still missing out," she said.

"It is essential that government, business and the third sector work together to provide older people with bespoke training and support to help them get online. Otherwise the digital divide will continue to deepen."

The way people access the web is also changing, with 31 percent admitting to using a mobile phone, while seven percent said they use Wi-Fi hotspots to get online when in restaurants, cafes and hotels.

Furthermore, 17 million adults watch TV and listen to the radio via the web.

See also: Brits spend 45% of day using phones and communication devices


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