The UK is falling behind on internet usage despite a surge in internet use, a report has found.
A study of 1,300 UK households by the National Institute for Digital Education (NIDEL) found that online usage had fallen in the UK since 2013.
The NIDEL said its research showed that while usage has fallen for most people, the UK still accounts for more than half of the world’s internet traffic.
It found that in 2015 the UK accounted for almost 10% of global internet traffic, but in 2019, the figure fell to just over 4%.
“The UK is still the world leader in internet traffic but in terms of total internet traffic the UK has fallen behind,” NIDED research lead Dr Eoin Macdonald said.
“In 2020, for example, the number of UK homes connected to the internet was more than a million, but this number dropped to more than 700,000 in 2021.”
The study found that the internet had also dropped for younger people, and even more for those with lower incomes.
It also found that people were using more of the internet for entertainment and leisure.
“Internet use among young people and those with higher incomes is now lower than in previous years,” Dr Macdonald added.
“This could be because they have less time available to use the internet or it could be that they are using the internet more to meet personal and family obligations.”
The NIDs research also found a significant increase in mobile broadband, with the number in the 20-35 age group now more than doubling over the past three years.NIDED found that for every person aged under 35 who had a mobile broadband connection, there were about 1,500 people who had not.
This is the first time the number has risen above 10,000, Dr MacDonald said.
The report was published in the journal Digital Science.