Living in a family? You're more likely to have broadband than a microwave


New research has revealed that more and more people are going online, and are accessing the internet on a mobile device – plus almost every single family household in the UK is now connected to the net.

The latest report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on internet access in the UK (for 2016) found that 82% of adults now use the internet every day (or almost every day).

That was up 4% compared to 2015, a healthy increase, and to put the overall figure in perspective, it stood at 35% just a decade ago.

And naturally enough, many more folks are going online via a mobile device, with 75% of UK adults using the internet on phones, tablets or laptops. And that percentage increased hugely when you look at the 16 to 24 age bracket – 97% of those went online using their handset or notebook.

Well-connected families

As for the percentage of homes in the UK which have an internet connection, that now stands at 89%, up 3% compared to last year. There was, predictably enough, a big gulf between households with families and pensioners living on their own – 99% of the former had a net connection, but only 53% of the latter.

Most households – 93% of them – had a fixed broadband connection, whether that was DSL, fibre or cable, but the ONS noted that 30% use their mobile broadband connection at home.

The study also looked at shopping on the net and found that the vast majority of those surveyed had used online retailers – no less than 77%. The most popular items to buy were clothes and sporting equipment.

And of course no report on internet would be complete without looking at our social media habits, and again unsurprisingly, the numbers of folks using Facebook, Twitter and so on rose to 63% of all adults. That represented a 2% increase on 2015 – not as sizeable a rise as the increase in those using the internet overall.

Kate Davies, of the Surveys and Economic Indicators Division, ONS, commented: "Regular internet use continues to rise, with more than 8 in 10 people going online almost every day in 2016. However, many older people are still to catch up with the digital revolution, with nearly half of single pensioners still having no internet access at all."

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).