Nearly nine in ten Britons have used the internet, new research has revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its Internet Access Update for the fourth quarter of 2013, which reveals 87 per cent (44.3 million) of people in the UK have now been online. This represents an increase of 1.2 million compared to a year earlier.
Some 6.7 million adults have never accessed the web, which is down by 700,000 on the end of 2012. More than half of these people suffer some form of disability, with only 3.1 million non-disabled adults having never gone online.
Internet use is almost universal among 16 to 24-year-olds with 99 per cent of this demographic having been on the net. The figure drops to just 36 per cent for people aged 75 and above.
Men are more likely to use the web, with 89 per cent of males having been online compared to 85 per cent of women. This is a pattern that has been evident ever since the ONS began releasing internet access figures in 2011.
On a regional basis, the most internet users can be found in London, where 90 per cent of the population have logged on to the web. The figure is lowest in Northern Ireland, where only 79 per cent of people have been online.
The ONS found internet use is largely consistent across ethnic groups, although people of Pakistani descent tend to use the web less, with only 83 per cent of this group having done so.
While the vast majority of people in the UK have used the internet, many are reliant on poor quality connections. The problem is most severe in rural areas where access to fast broadband is either very limited or completely unavailable due to the remote location of communities.