Nearly 300,000 people in the UK went online for the first time during Q3 of 2011, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

This takes the total number of adults who have been online at least once to 41.6m, equating to over 83% of the population.

Most of these new users fall into older age groups; with the largest decrease among those aged 75 and over, where there were 164,000 fewer non-users compared to Q2 of this year. As expected, internet use in the 16 to 24 year old category is high, with 98.6% of this age group online regularly.

Disabled adults account for just over half of the 8.43m adults who have never used the Internet, according to the ONS

Digital champion Martha Lane Fox is working with the government’s eAccessibility Forum in tandem with AbilityNet, Nominet Trust and the ONS, to better measure accessibility.

She said that she was happy to see an improvement overall in offline figures, but believes that they reinforce the need for the UK to prioritise the education, accessibility and engagement with IT.

There is still a long way to go if we are to achieve our ambition of  making the UK the world’s most digitally literate and networked nation.”

The third quarterly report from the ONS also showed that those earning less than £300 a week equate to 13.5% of the 8.43m adults who have never been online, but that every one of the 1.4m adults earning over £1,000 a week said that they have accessed the internet.