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Internet refuseniks aren’t tempted by an online lifestyle

More than one-fifth of the UK are ‘internet refuseniks’ who don’t have an internet connection and aren’t tempted by online activities like email, social networking

Not only are 21 per cent of British homes living without an internet connection – if you can call it living – but two per cent have the internet and don’t use it.

And 15 per cent of British adults surveyed by communications watchdog Ofcom don’t intend to get the internet in the next 12 months.

Internet connection intentions, Ofcom CMR 2012

Internet connections in the UK, Ofcom 2012

There’s worse news for schemes which want to get everyone connected, such as Go ON UK: the internet refuseniks don’t see anything to tempt them online.

In its Communications Market Report for 2012, Ofcom said: “We find that over time, levels of interest in various activities have remained very low, implying that untapped demand for internet access is small, with around one in eight (14 per cent) or fewer expressing an interest in each activity.

“Those stating ‘a lack of interest’ as a possible reason could be masking those that do not intend to get the internet at home for various underlying reasons, such as a lack of experience or a lack of confidence regarding the internet, or a combination of such factors.”

In broad strokes, it’s a story about age and wealth: a third of over-65s aren’t planning to go online, along with two-thirds of over-75s.

Those numbers will change as we all get older, but more interestingly, 30 per cent of people in the lower DE socio-economic group don’t intend to get the internet, compared to six per cent of high-status ABs.

Reasons for not having an internet connection, Ofcom CMR 2012

Reaasons for not getting an internet connections, Ofcom 2012

Most people just aren’t interested (66 per cent), but availability is an issue for a quarter of those who aren’t online, and 18 per cent of refuseniks don’t have a computer to go online.

Cost is still an important barrier, but it’s declined from 23 per cent to 16 per cent in the past year – though Ofcom suspects that some people would be embarrassed to admit their money issues.

Some admit they just don’t know enough to get themselves online (a declining 14 per cent of the group), and 13 per cent said they don’t know how to use a computer, let alone get the internet.

Fear of cyber-crime isn’t a big issue – but it is growing – and very few non-connected people say they’ve got a good connection they can use at home, college or elsewhere.

Men without the internet are far less tempted than offline women by finding out about hobbies and interests online, shopping, finding out information from their local government or local council such as health services, recycling, and local libraries, or watching online or downloading TV programmes or films.

Perhaps there are a lot of bored women waiting for the man in their life to get off his backside and sort out an internet connection?

Interest in online activity for those without internet, Ofcom CMR 2012

Interest in online activity for non-connected Brits, Ofcom 2012

Images: Ofcom