Martha Lane Fox hopes cheap PCs will end digital divide

By Derek du Preez
17 Jan 2011 View Comments
handcomputer

A pilot scheme in the UK will see recycled PCs being made available for £98 to the 9.2 million British adults who still do not have access to broadband, according to the Financial Times.

The initiative, which aims to bridge the digital divide in the UK, comes shortly after the government announced plans to make £830m of public funding available to give all communities access to superfast broadband.

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Martha Lane Fox is behind the pilot, and hopes that the low price tag will attract those who had previously considered getting online to be too expensive.

Fox is also the government's campaigner for the Race Online 2012 initiative, which aims to make the UK the first nation in the world where everyone can use the web.

"Motivation and inspiration are still two of the biggest barriers [to using the internet], but clearly perception of price is another big deal for people," said Fox.

The computers being made available will run open-source software such as Linux, and the £98 price tag includes a flat screen monitor, keyboard, mouse, warranty, telephone helpline and delivery.

"We have an opportunity here in the UK to make sure that people are using the internet as much as they are using TVs. We should be using our old computers and refurbishing them to close the gap in this country," added Fox.

The PC package will be sold through 60 online centres, and Fox also hopes to utilise charities as an alternative sales channel. It is expected that 8,000 sales will be made this year.

 

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