Who are the 16% of Britons that still don’t go online?

Photo by Flickr user hdzimmermann

Photo by Flickr user hdzimmermann

According to a UK broadband provider, more than 81 percent of households access the internet at least once a week. The National Statistics Office supports this data, suggesting that 16% of the population, or 7.63 million adults, have never used the internet.

Who are these offline Britons – and how are they living without the worldwide web?

One of them is the current BBC Time Lord, Matt Smith. In an interview with The Sun, the Who star admitted that he refuses to use the internet. “I don’t want anything to do with the outside world”, he says. “My dad says I should get myself sorted.”

His dad might just be right. Time Lords should have access to the outside world. And Mr Smith is a minority in his class and age group.

Statistics from Pew Internet show that most non-users earn less than $30,000 a year (£19,880), haven’t completed A-levels, or are retired citizens.

A majority of non-users said they avoid the internet because there was no reason to access it outside of work and home, and it was too expensive.

James McPherson, 65, barrister in Brighton, has never used a computer and he doesn’t see a point to starting now.

“There’s nothing on the internet that I need everyday”, says Mr McPherson. “And if there was, I’m sure I could get my wife or kids to access it for me.”

Some people simply don’t see the point in using the internet; however, the British government and broadband providers disagree. They are investing millions of pounds to provide even more coverage around the UK.

Britain is already one of the top five economies for broadband in the EU. Providers like BT have announced new plans to make the internet available to 100,000 new homes a week in 2013.

More internet access might not be the right solution to get the 7.63 million non-users to saddle up with their computer screens. But with the trend leaning towards higher internet usage, it looks like Doctor Who will need to stay in the TARDIS if he wants to keep the outside world from coming in.


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