Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 18:13 UK

Two-thirds of UK homes now online

Computer user
Better-educated adults are more likely to have internet access

Almost 16.5 million households in the UK now have internet access, an increase of 1.2 million since 2007, the latest official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the new figure represented close to two-thirds of UK households.

Homes in the South East are most likely to have internet access with those in north-east England least likely.

But charities said that insufficient effort had been made to encourage older people to use the internet.

'Exclusion'

Help the Aged said that internet access allowed people to save hundreds of pounds - but that nearly 7 million people aged 65 and over had never used the internet.

"Absolutely no progress has been made in getting older people online and the spotlight is now on Government and the industry to get switched on," said David Sinclair, head of policy for the charity.

"Exclusion from modern society is increasingly less about being able to get to the library and more about being able to access the rivers of information flowing in and out of British homes each day," Mr Sinclair added.

He called on more adult courses to be made available at affordable prices.

Education link

The ONS data suggested that more than two-thirds of adults go online every day or almost every day, with men more regular users than women.

Graph showing rise in internet connectivity since 2005

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.

The survey also found that the better educated were more likely to be online.

The ONS said that 93% of adults aged under 70 who had a university degree or equivalent qualification had internet access.

This compared with just 56% of those with no formal qualifications being online.

Communications regulator Ofcom said earlier this month that PC and laptop use had grown fourfold since 2002.

The ONS index of internet connectivity, based on a survey of internet service providers, actually fell between March and June because of a decrease in dial-up connections.




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