By Claire West
Internet entrepreneur Fil Adams-Mercer welcomed yesterday’s report from communications regulator Ofcom that revealed Britain’s broadband take-up was being driven by the elderly.
“There are huge economic benefits for the individual and the economy as a whole by increasing broadband take-up,” said Mr Adams-Mercer, founder of Parcel2Go, the UK’s biggest online parcel delivery service. “The elderly in particular can benefit from online savings and by staying in touch with family and friends easier.”
According to Ofcom, 40% of one person households over state pensionable age now have internet access. A decade ago that figure was just 11%.
The number of UK broadband connections increased by 3% in the last 12 months but the figure was three times higher for the 65/74 year- olds and just slightly lower for the over 75’s.
However, a sixth of people of retirement age reported that they did not intend to seek out a broadband connection in the next year.
“There are still 9 million in the UK who have never used the world-wide-web. The elderly and the poor are obviously disproportionately represented in this figure. It is in everyone’s interest to see that everyone in Britain can gain internet access,” said Mr Adams-Mercer.
Software giant Microsoft has launched a Xmas campaign aiming to get more users onto the internet by providing refurbished computers and supported training.
“It would be a telling contribution to the ‘Big Society’ if young people could help elderly family members and friends to go online,” said Mr Adams-Mercer.