NEARLY 90,000 people in the region have not been online in the past three months, new figures have revealed.

The research, compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also showed that 24,000 people in Southampton alone had shunned the Internet, despite the fact that over the last 20 years the web has become more and more a part of everyday lives.

However, in the south east 850,000 more people are now using the Internet compared with 2012, when the ONS first began compiling this data – an increase of 15 per cent.

According to the research, Southampton was among the most web-phobic parts of the county. Data showed one in nine (11.11 per cent) residents aged 16 or older hadn’t been online recently.

Conversely, the ‘central Hampshire’ area, which includes Winchester, the New Forest, Test Valley and East Hampshire, had the lowest percentage, with 6.7 per cent of people – 30,000 – avoiding the Internet.

Meanwhile Eastleigh, which was grouped with Fareham, Havant and Gosport, had a figure of 8.9 per cent, around 34,000.

The average rate of non-use for the UK was 10 per cent. In total 942,000 people in the region used the Internet in the last three months (91.1 per cent).

Nationally, the area covering Camden and the city of London has the highest Internet usage, with 97 per cent of residents having been online in the last three months, while Mid and East Antrim, in Northern Ireland, has the lowest usage with just 74 per cent.

Nationwide, the number of adults who have never used the internet is shrinking, dropping from 9.2 per cent in 2017 to 8.4 per cent this year.

Across the country 99 per cent of people aged 16 to 34 are recent internet users, compared with just 44 per cent of adults aged 75 and over.

The research follows an investigation at the end of 2017 by Ofcom, the communications regulator, which found more than one million homes in the UK did not have access to fast broadband.

This is classed as the minimum speed required to stream music and TV services such as Amazon and Netflix.

The government has pledged that by 2020 every house and business in the country will have 10Mbps-plus broadband speeds.