Industry groups have combined to launch a new campaign to drive up internet uptake for UK citizens, offering PCs from £24 and a broadband connection for as little as £3 per month.
The Get Online @ Home campaign, backed by the likes of Microsoft, Simplify Digital and Partners IT, will offer low-cost refurbished PCs or laptops, along with numerous broadband packages. Those on eligible benefits will be able to buy PCs from as little as £24. The price for those not on eligible benefits is a still very modest £74. The PCs will include Windows 7 Pro with Microsoft Office Basic.
“We want to remove the barriers that stop people form being able to get online,” Graham Walker, chief executive of Go ON UK, the non-profit group behind the campaign, told V3.
Of the seven million Britons that do not use the internet, one in five are in households with school-age children, Walker noted. “It's really important that these families are able to get internet access, and cost is one obvious barrier," he added.
Go ON is also partnering with the Post Office, where details of the nearest free or cheap IT training courses will be made available at nearly 12,000 branches. Many digitally excluded Britons lack the necessary know how to get online. These courses, many of which will be delivered by members of the local community, are designed to give people the knowledge.
“People don't want to be trained by someone from the government,” said Walker. “But what we've seen is that when you have these courses delivered by your peers, people really respond.”
Earlier this year, government spending watchdog the National Audit Office warned that one in six Britons faced digital exclusion. It reported that the 'digital by default' strategy could alienate the 17 percent of the population not currently online.
Go ON UK had previously launched initiatives offering low cost PCs and internet access, but the revised offer – which is available from 11 June – sees the price reduced dramatically.
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