A report published by Ofcom, the independent regulator of the UK's communication networks, has found that the key influence on whether individuals are connected to the internet is their attitude to technology, rather than their health, age or income.

This is reflected particularly in older generations – 56 percent of people aged 65 or over surveyed voluntarily excluded themselves from connecting to or using the internet.

The concern is that these 'digitally disengaged' people are missing out on government services provided by agencies that are increasingly web-based.

However, the report, Consumers and the Communications Market 2006, does state that age is a significant factor too, as is cost.

Ofcom's consumer panel has outlined plans to work with government policy makers and the communications industry over the next year to tackle issues raised in the report, beginning with a workshop early this month.