A fifth of homes don't want broadband claims Ofcom

Some 40 per cent of homes don't have access to broadband and half of those don't want to.

This rather startling statistic comes from Ed Richards, the head of Ofcom, who was speaking at the London School of Economics last night.

He said 55 per cent of the homes in the UK without broadband don't want it, even though they could afford it.

"So, even though people are bombarded by messages about the range of benefits of being online whether buying cheap insurance or catching up on last week's soaps there seems to be millions of people who are not yet persuaded," he said, describing such people as "self-excluded."

"We need to tackle this challenge as much as tackle the challenge of low-income households who can't afford access," he added.

Such a high number of people not bothered by broadband could cause trouble for government plans to get fast networks to every home in the UK. The Digital Britain plan, created by Lord Carter, looks to rollout 2Mbps broadband to everyone by 2012.

Richards said that another one per cent of those without broadband of 512kbps can't get it because they live in a rural location. Raise the bar to 2mbps, and 15 per cent of the UK would be left out. Richards dubbed them the "geographically excluded."

The research Richards was quoting from will apparently be released in more detail later this week.

Consumers may not feel they need broadband, but do businesses really need fast networks?