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Age UK reports broadband usage high among older Brits

Wednesday, March 23rd 2011 by Cable.co.uk

More than four in ten Britons aged 55 to 74 regularly use the internet.

Older Brits are among the savviest home broadband users in Europe, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by Age UK found people aged 55 to 74 in this country are some of the continent's biggest users of the internet, with 43 per cent frequently going online.

Luxembourg and Norway came out on top in the survey with 58 per cent of people in the demographic regularly accessing the web, followed by 55 per cent in Denmark and 54 per cent in the Netherlands and Sweden.

The likes of France, Belgium and Germany all ranked behind the UK, while the European average figure was found to be 28 per cent.

Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said silver surfers have told the charity that using the web helps to keep them connected to their loved ones. This reinforces the view that the internet can benefit people of all ages, she insisted.

Despite the positive result of the study, Ms Herklots insisted more needs to be done and called on people of all ages who already go online to pass their wisdom on to friends, family members and neighbours.

"If everyone helps one older person they know to get online, the UK's older population could surf their way to the top of the European table, helping in the battle against social isolation along the way," she commented.

Margaret Goodwin, Age UK's 64-year-old internet champion of the year for 2011, echoed Ms Herklots's remarks on the benefits of broadband access.

"I regularly use the internet to keep in touch with friends and family around the world and have also got back in contact with family I had lost touch with," she explained.

Despite the strong performance in the study, figures published last summer by the Office for National Statistics show the UK still has a long way to go to get the older generation online.

It showed 9.2 million British adults have never browsed the internet, with 60 per cent of non-users aged 65 and over. More than a fifth of 55 to 64-year-olds also admitted to having no experience of going online. 

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