back to article People without broadband in 'I don't want broadband' shock

Hats off to Ofcom, which today reveals the main reasons why 30 per cent of the country aren't connected to the internet at home - they either don't want it or can't afford it. The amazing finding is part of the communications regulator's research ahead of the government's final Digital Britain report, due later this month. One …


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  1. Rob


    I'm glad they said that, I would never have guessed otherwise.

    What's the next shock research to be revealed? Some people like marmite and some people don't!

  2. James

    I just read about ..

    .. 20 people who have just emerged after 4 years at a Buddhist retreat on the Isle of Arran. No (or very little) news, no internet, no connection with the outside world. Sounds pretty good to me...

    My very real fear is that like the "No fixed abode" status, which is deliberately designed to "outcast" those folk who prefer to travel and live in mobile homes (in fact this is eminently sensible IF and WHEN the next ICE AGE comes upon us!), the lack of broadband and access to the internet will be used to outcast a whole raft of people who, for some extraordinary reason, actually want to live real lives rather than piss away their time (as the author is doing !) on the Internet.

    Of course it'll become very suspicious that people do not want to use the internet and have their activity tracked 24/7. Mr. Plod will be able to arrest them for behaving in a suspicious manner likely to cause harm to online surveillance....

  3. Ian Ferguson
    Dead Vulture

    To be fair

    It's useful (and good) to know that on the whole, these people don't have broadband because they don't want it, not because they can't get it (but do want it). A vast improvement over the last few years.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair enough, some people may not want broadband

    but at least they should have the option should they change their minds. The real story here is how many people are currently excluded altogether.

    BTW, thanks for that Grauniad link, no, really: three minutes and I could feel my brain melting. Can't these people just shut up for five minutes and read something or listen to some music?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The Media

    According to the media, particularly ITV News and other tabloid news sources, the internet is full of paedophiles, hackers, fraudsters, thieves, stalkers and murderers. Why would anyone want to get on-line when all they hear from the majority of the media (BBC excluded) is how bad the internet is. When was the last time you heard a 'good' internet related story (except from the BBC).

  6. Kerberos

    It's not the money

    If someone says they can't afford a computer with the internet, they are talking crap quite frankly. You can get cheapo broadband for pretty much the cost of a TV license, and I've even started to see laptops sold on mobile contracts for nothing down and £40 p/m.

    Since it seems everyone can afford a TV and a mobile phone, they can afford broadband. Computers are not the £1000 beasts that they used to be.

  7. Efros
    Paris Hilton

    Interest and fear

    There has to be an interest and there has to be no fear. My folks absolutely refused to have internet, principally due to a lack of interest, they reckoned they had enough to occupy their retired life without adding the risks or the fear, of ID theft, viruses, worms etc. We are talking about people who didn't have a colour TV until the mid 80s and only got satellite TV when my dad realised that there was such a thing as the History channel and that he could listen to Radio 4 without whistles and pops. I'm sure they are not the only ones who couldn't give a tinkers cuss about broadband, interwibble or egovernment. Some people don't want it, leave em alone, these are the same people who hit the mute button during TV adverts, they can't be commoditised.

    Paris cos neither of my folks would have a friggin clue who the hell she is, and they're all the better for that!

  8. Max Pritchard

    What about...

    ... those people who are currently on the Internet, but think it's a bit rubbish really and are planning to bail out in the next 6 months and go back to reading books and chatting to their neighbours unless the quality improves.

    And what about those who ought to be taken offline regardless of what /they/ want. Politicians? People conducting surveys "to improve their site"? Major record labels? Can we come to some kind of democratic consensus?

    I think the survey could have gone off in several interesting directions. A shameful missed opportunity. Probably.

  9. northern monkey


    Please tell me you're not being serious!!

    If you can't appreciate that there are a lot of people out there living hand to mouth - particularly given the rising unemployment - then you really have problems. Shelling out on broadband comes quite a long way after 'buy food'.

  10. Simon

    No! I didn't want Broadband, back then.

    In the early zeros I used to have an old vintage Acorn RISC PC on dial-up using the Blueyonder ISP. Perfect for what I needed.

    It had no USB or Ethernet connections, but a RS232 port with a dial-up modem. No way could it connect to broadband in it's current state or make any use of a fast connection, but I would get regular calls off my ISP.

    I would tell them:

    "Look, it doesn't matter if you even gave me the broadband for free, I can't make any use of it, please can you stop phoning me up every couple of weeks to give me an upgrade offer I can't refuse, because I still have refuse it"

    Then they would ask which version of Windows ("No it's not running Windows, or before you ask Mac OS or Linux, ok!") I was using, it would generally go down hill from there. Eventually a strong "No!" at the start of the call would get rid of them quickly.

    Then I got married and my wife told me we needed a new computer and the old one had to go, hee hee.

    Now I have a 20Mbit connection, but as you say some people are happy with dial-up or nothing.

    Penguin because "No it wasn't Windows!" even though it wasn't Linux either, how confusing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Max Pritchard

    "... those people who are currently on the Internet, but think it's a bit rubbish really and are planning to bail out in the next 6 months and go back to reading books and chatting to their neighbours unless the quality improves."

    Best case : their neighbours no longer want to talk to the snobby antisocial git next door so books are the only option. Hope the local bookshop hasn't closed!

    Worst case : the neighbours don't want to talk to the paedophile/fraudster/thief/stalker/murderer/ next door. Of course, if they find out he's a hacker a lynch mob or mockery from local kids would probably be on the agenda.

  12. Mountford D

    So where's the drama?

    We live in a free society don't we? Free choice and all the rest of it except when it comes to the TV Licensing authority when you are presumed to have a TV and the onus of contrary proof is on you or risk being hounded for the rest of your life.

    Providers like TalkTalk bundle broadband into your phone services anyway so it is "free". You don't have to use it, but the choice to do so by simply plugging in an Internet device is there.

  13. Geeks and Lies


    you said Penetration. Hahahahahha

  14. Gareth.

    We asked 100 people if they want broadband, and our survey said...

    How did OFCOM survey these people, that's what I wanna know. Did they have a survey on their website? Knowing OFCOM, I wouldn't put it past them.

  15. Alan B

    @ Kerberos

    I really can't believe you posted that. Some people have barely enough money coming in to eat properly. Even if they had a computer given to them free of charge, many can't afford to have a phone line installed, or the monthly line rental, let alone the cost of broadband. Alternatively, where does the £40 a month come from for a mobile contract? There are a huge number of people who have too much month left at the end of the money.

    It's time you joined the rest of us in the real world. Exactly what is your idea of a low income? It's obviously far higher than reality!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Max Pritchard

    It's true, the Internet isn't as good as it used to be: I remember the massive drop in quality when AOL first shat its load onto Usenet, although that was but a pimple compared to the unrelenting moronic WebTV hordes....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Every pensioner I know has Freeview, yet still buys the Daily Hate on a Saturday to get the TV guide just like they always have. I point out that Freeview has an in-built guide and that it's always seven days ahead, meaning you don't end up on a Friday night not knowing what's on tomorrow, but they're just not interested in 'fancy' things like that.

    No surprise that none of them have computers either, let alone broadband. In one household, the wife still gets out a heavy 1950s typewriter whenever they want to write a letter.

    Oh, and that same household still buys films on VHS tapes and complains that they're getting hard to find these days and sometimes thay have to get them on those DVDs instead. They have a very expensive DVD Recorder that some salesman from Currys was able to persuade them to buy but they still stick to VHS and percieve DVDs as some kind of fallback plan for when the 'proper' thing isn't available. And they really don't understand why VHS releases are becoming hard to find, swearing blind it's one big racket.

    You're not going to make these people go online. If they refuse to switch from paper TV guides to the EPG listings, they're not going to switch to the BBC news and weather websites or iPlayer, letalone Twitter, Faceache or MyBrain.

    They fought two world wars, all they want is to be left alone! All of which gives me a great idea - Why not relocate them to the peaceful and scenic rural areas where you can't get broadband anyway, and let the "Countryfolk 2.0" move into the big smoke to get online at last?

  18. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    Older People

    Some older people have difficulty with new things.

    They are fine with thier normal routines but appear to be 'difficult' when 'helpful' relatives shower their parents with mobiles and DVD players and TV remotes that have too many buttons. Having to learn something else can be just to much of a hassle for something they never really wanted in the first place.

    And all the time they hear on the wireless that another 10 000 names, addresses and other info has gone missing or been found in a cab - they aren't too far off the mark in staying well clear.

  19. frank ly

    What is the point?

    "..One of the main policy objectives of the report will be to increase broadband penetration..."

    Why? Yes, why? I'm sure that many El Reg commenters can flood this page with 'good' reasons for having a broadband connection at home. I myself get withdrawal symptoms when I'm away from home, so I got a netbook and a mobile broadband PAYG stick (a nice combo!).

    The Government have set a target (of sorts) but have they stopped to ask 'why' this is important? Has any analysis been done of the cost/benefit of making the effort to do this, or is it a 'good thing' that must be pushed at all costs? One thing is for sure, when the Government sets a target, anyone who resists that target or gets in its way will be regarded as an enemy of the state and will be regarded as needing some serious re-education.

  20. Tom 13

    @AC and Alan B

    I doubt much that Ofcom interviewed people who had trouble buying food for their survey. They tend to be hard to reach and the sorts of people you need to hire to visit them tend not to work well with corporate IT types. So I suspect that Kerberos pretty much nailed this with respect to the Ofcom survey. Use to help with a convention that cost $40 to attend for three days. Starbucks latte drinkers bitched to no end when we bumped the fee by $5, which was less than one of their damn latte's cost.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 10:13

    "...the internet is full of paedophiles, hackers, fraudsters, thieves, stalkers and murderers."

    ...and that's just the Reg forums!

  22. Stevie


    Wow. People who either don't want or cannot afford internet. Whodathunkit?

    Will someone please tell me what Twitter *does*? I'm as "into" frivolous crap as the next person, possibly more so than some, but I cannot for the life of me see the point of these innane one-liners. The world + twitter = an episode of Ripping Yarns from where I sit.

    Nitwit@someplace - "Just heard about Howard Molson's Shovel. Bummer"

    Moron@somotherplace - "And it wer a spr&jcksn no3 2!

    Nitwit@someplace - "Not just a number three - it had nickel scoop"

    Moron@someotherplace - "jst had blk pddng - evn wht bts blk"


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You are writing absolute crap. Haven't you even met any pensioners? Do you know how much money they have to live on? Have you not seen any of the publicity on national television over the last 3 years about OAPs not having enough money to live on?

    Every single penny they receive matters to them.

  24. hafgodol

    @ Bit Fiddler

    Must agree, my father in law (70) got frustrated when he couldn't find the rewind button on the DVD player a few years back...seriously, not joking.

  25. jg007


    sorry but that is Bull in much the same way that all the single mums cannot afford healthy food because they spend all their damn cash on booze and cigarettes and takeaways

    I know a few pensioners and they have plenty of money from their pension and most of the ones that have problems lend money to their waste of space kids who never pay it back

    people will never have a great lifestyle on the pension but if they actually manage their money there is more than enough for them to live on and have a few luxuries

  26. Anonymous Coward

    How to survey

    So when did you stop beating your wife...was that the day you decided you didn't want broadband?

    _____ No, i really don't need broadband to beat my wife.

    _____ I don't even understand the question.

    _____ Are you all daft?

  27. 4HiMarks


    Ha! I got you beat. My mother insisted the pause button on her VCR didn't work while recording because the people on the TV kept moving when she pushed it. (This was years ago, before there was such a thing as a DVR).

  28. Doug Glass


    I just did a bit of genealogical research and I believe it was one of your ancestors who commented, "Let them eat cake" or words to that effect.

    Good point though, some people just don't really need those medications. And they do have the cake to eat.

  29. John H Woods

    Old Timer's Disease

    We'll all end up like that sooner or later (or die in the process). You just can't predict old(er) people. My mum is a silver surfer, and was the one who showed me that you can put the windows task bar in a much more sensible position (i.e. on the left). She responded to constant arguments in their walking group about how far they walked by using a GPS.

    However, despite her intelligence, long term readership of the quality press, and general online savvy, she comes out with the occasional corker: "You can't give your 14 yo daughter 20 quid a week ... we only gave you 10 when you were 14!" Inflation seems very hard for some people to grasp. I guess one just loses one's cognitive flexibility as one ages... where was I again?

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