BT Press Releases

DC11-256                                                                              October 28, 2011

One in five has never sent an email

As the clocks go back this weekend, Gabby Logan and BT urge people to use the ‘extra’ hour to help someone send their first email to family and friends

One in five (20%) adults in the UK has never sent an email, according to new research from BT’s Get IT Together campaign. The findings are released as Gabby Logan, who is fronting the campaign, is encouraging people to ‘Give an Hour’ this weekend to help someone send their first email - an important step to getting online.

Gabby, said: “I love being able to drop a friend a quick email to say ‘hi, hope you’re ok’. We take it for granted that everyone can use the internet but the reality is many people don’t know how to.
“The internet makes it quick and simple to stay in touch, make arrangements and keep up to date even if you live at different ends of the country. You can send instant messages, share photos and even video call. So if you know someone who isn’t online yet, why not use the extra hour this weekend to help them send their first email?”

The BT/ICM telephone poll of more than 2,000 adults found that of those already online four in ten (40%) have used email to reconnect with someone and more than half (53%) got back in touch using Facebook. Almost half (47%) of those who had lost touch with a close family member said they would like to reconnect with them*. Only about one in ten (9%) wanted to get back in touch with a former flame.

A lack of time and physical distance are often the cause of people losing touch. More than half (54%) of those surveyed said they had lost contact with someone because they didn’t have time to keep in touch. Almost half (46%) reported losing touch because their friend or family member had moved to another part of the country and 42% of those who had lost touch said distance prevented them reconnecting.

To make it easy to explain the benefits of email BT’s Get IT Together campaign and Gabby have produced a short film that you can show to someone who has never sent an email before. The film forms part of a series of four and can be accessed via

Around 9 million people in the UK still haven’t used the internet. BT, through it’s Get IT Together campaign, is committed to helping to get another 100,000 people online for the first time by the end of the London Olympic year. BT will also encourage and enable at least 10,000 people to become 'Digital Champions' helping and inspiring others to get online. As a leading partner of Race Online 2012, BT is supporting its ‘Give an Hour’ campaign, encouraging people to use the hour created by the clocks going back on 30th October to help someone get online.

Martha Lane Fox is the UK’s Digital Champion, and leads Race Online 2012, the national campaign to get everyone in the UK online by the Olympic year. Fox, said: “There are still 8.7 million people in the UK who’ve never made a free Skype call, explored and expanded their interests or got a great deal online. Yet, it’s impossible to imagine life without the web for anyone who uses it regularly”.

“We live in an age when ‘digital’ is a vital life skill: as basic as knowing how to read and write. 90% of new jobs require it: you’re 25% more likely to get work when you have web skills and once in work you’ll earn up to 10% more. It’s simply unacceptable that so many people are still unable to benefit from what the web can offer. BT’s commitment to get an extra 100,000 people online by the end of next year is just the kind of dedication we need to make the UK the first nation in the world where everyone can use the web."

Gavin Patterson, BT’s CSR champion, said: “These days there are so many great ways to stay in touch. In the world we live in, the internet can really help people who are isolated or disadvantaged. Of those not online, four million are also the most socially and digitally excluded. We’ve been working since 2002 to tackle this digital divide and are committed to helping 100,000 more people get online by the end of next year.”

Notes to editors

Survey statistics are from BT research among 2,103 UK adults aged 18+, conducted online by ICM between 10th and 18th September 2011.

*close family members: grandparent, grandchild, sibling, son or daughter, aunt or uncle

How to help someone get online?

Here are some quick tips for helping someone to get online:

• Make it relevant – show them how exciting the internet can make their favourite pastimes be that shopping, gardening or music.
• Be patient – everyone learns new skills at different speeds and remember that the person you are teaching may not have grown up with computers in the same way as you did
• Keep it local – A great way to make the internet seem less daunting is to focus on something local such as bus routes or regional news
• You're in charge, not the computer! – Reassure the person you're teaching that it's really pretty hard to break a computer
• Set realistic goals – Let your friend or relative learn at their own pace and keep sessions short and sweet
• Go to for more advice, tips and to show someone the basics of getting online

BT and Get IT Together

BT is at the heart of digital communications. We believe that information communications technology can make a real difference to individuals and communities that find themselves on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide’.

BT’s Get IT Together programme is all about empowering people to get online - making the most of what the internet has to offer. As an official partner of Race Online 2012, BT has pledged its support to help get another 100,000 people online by the end of 2012 as well as encourage and enable at least 10,000 people to become 'Digital Champions', helping and inspiring others to get online. For more information, visit

BT has been helping people to get online since 2002. Last year, BT invested money, time and in-kind contributions worth £27.6 million in programmes that ranged from supporting BT volunteers working in schools and community organisations to helping disadvantaged children in India escape poverty and become part of the digital society. This exceeded our target to invest at least 1% of underlying pre-tax profits in community programmes and sustainability