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Brown says Broadband for all
Tuesday 23 September 2008 11:05:16 by John Hunt

Gordon Brown is releasing plans of a £300m scheme that will provide broadband Internet access, software and computers to low income families.

The means-tested "Educational Technology Allowance" voucher scheme will see a million of the poorest families receiving between £100 and £700 to help plug the gap of the approximately 1.4 million children who do not currently have access to a broadband connection at home. The scheme is to be piloted in two local authority areas late this year with a view to roll out across England in 2010 and 2011. Families in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will have to hold out to see if their local authorities will roll out a similar scheme without the backing of the central UK government. There doesn't appear to be any plans within this to help fill the gap where broadband isn't available, either due to being too far from the local exchange, or the exchange not being enabled, so it could be those that need support may still not benefit.

The scheme is to last for 3 years. Whether a new scheme will be announced to coincide with the end of this is unknown, particularly as a different political party may be in power then. Some may question how useful it will be to the poorest families who may then be faced with higher charges for keeping what will hopefully be by then, faster broadband services, particularly if they have come to rely on it.


Posted by Going_Digital over 9 years ago
If Gordon Brown thinks this will be used for education he is living in La La land. The kids will use it for face book, myspace. I suppose it might mean they are more computer literate than they might have otherwise been. But how about getting the basics right first like using the money to make sure they can read and write properly.
Posted by Pigmaster over 9 years ago
And the sudden influx of PC's to ebay
Posted by fordred over 9 years ago
£700 a year... what ISP/tariff is that on?
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
Step 1.Pick up voucher.
Step 2.Buy equipment.
Step 3.Log on to eBay.
Step 4.Profit.

Way to go Mr. Brown. Another £300 million of our money thrown away. The man is an idiot.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Step 1.Pick up voucher.
Step 2.Buy equipment.
Step 3.Log on to eBay.
Step 4.Profit.

Way to go Mr. Brown. Another £300 million of our money thrown away. The man is an idiot."

LOL you missed out step 2B Put on hooded top, take kitchen knife and proceed to rob more people and burgle homes in which to get more cack from your deprived area to flog on fleabay... Increase crime rate and make area even poorer

A back up step 5 should also be put in place, called the bully kid in playground for PSP to place on fleabay. If steps 1-4 fail...... Agreed man is an idiot
Posted by _sjr_ over 9 years ago
I just wonder how many of the target households have Xbox, PS2/3, PSP, DS etc already? Priorities rather than lack of cash is the problem in many households I would imagine.

Posted by ChristopherWoods over 9 years ago
fordred: my Dad's involved with IT and education in one county council (he's a Local Government Officer, not a Civil Servant ;)

Anyway, he told me that because they are officially responsible for the equipment and the connection they have to ensure that it's regulated and policed. They are trying to lock down the machines so they can only connect through a particular connection - quite possibly a 3G dongle - and are restricted to which sites they can visit via upstream proxying over the county council network (same as is provided for schools).

Posted by ChristopherWoods over 9 years ago
It's a massive job and there are some real technical problems to work out, personally I think it's a real waste of time but the council has a 'duty of care' to ensure that kids aren't exposed to 'hazardous' content. Make what you will of this whole venture, it's just throwing more money at pointless endeavours if you ask me... But what do I know, I'm just a lackey!
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
how is it broadband for all? misleading title. Last I checked not everyone has a child.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
@Chrysalis:"how is it broadband for all? misleading title. Last I checked not everyone has a child. " no but it often seems like it on the Internet :D
Posted by normcall over 9 years ago
It must have been another Prime Minister who promised a computer and internet connection for all about 10 years ago.
Must be the same idea revived.
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
Are there no public libraries left these days then? 'Cos if the kids had access to a PC in a public library, they might get to look at those "booky wooky" (?) things as well as t'Interweb, and using PCs in libraries also does a bit to address the "hazardous content" thing (can't have kids seeing anything like dad's Page 3 now can we ?).

Speaking of Page 3, how many of the homes in this picture wouldn't already have a Sky subscription, and thus already be entitled (in LLU areas) to "free" Sky broadband?
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
c_j I have the same thoughts, there is libraries, they can even start a scheme where kids can borrow laptops for free for homework etc. but this scheme which basically gives them a new computer is open to abuse big time, ebay will be very busy.
Posted by TheArtist over 9 years ago
Does Gordon Brown even UNDERSTAND what Broadband is?? Does he UNDERSTAND that, especially kids, if they're fed up, and they WILL get fed up if they do not have a good connection speed, they will abandon using the PC? The FIRST thing this country needs to get right is a DECENT connection speed for all before throwing even more money down that huge drain this Government seem to love populating. SO, Mr.Brown, GET YOUR ADVISERS to look into the inconsistent connection speeds up and down the country. I'll jump off me soapbox now.....

Morning all,....
Posted by tiggerrmummy over 9 years ago
What an idiot. For all the reasons stated above an more. My biggest beef is that as a low income family we wont qualify because we already have pc and bb. We just dont go out boozing or have a plasma tv,sit and watch day time tv smoking our selves into an early holiday on the nhs.How dare GB waste our money in such a cavalier way, my husband works hard and whilst we are not rich we manage. I resent giving it to families of itinerant runts so they can surf or play games, forget it.Anyone who wants to learn already knows how to,The rest cant be bothered.
Posted by dragon1945 over 9 years ago
First what about low income widowed pensioners? I like to keep myself informed and educated, yet I wouldn't qualify. Keeping your brain exercised is supposed to help ward off Dementia, which costs the NHS £millions. I had to go without to buy my PC. My ISP costs as much as the extra Income Tax I have to pay since the scrapping of the 10% Tax Band. The TV is like Prozac for the masses. Cyberfriends are better than no friends, and cyberchat beats talking to the budgie.
How can it be BB for all unless George Brown is going to enforce the roll out of Fibre to rural areas.
Posted by upperholme over 9 years ago
Wow! What a load of reactionary right-wing claptrap in most of the comments above.

I would say that while the sensationalist headline is clearly misleading, surely the goal of aiming to get poorer kids connected online not only recognises the importance of the internet in terms of giving kids a decent start, but is trying to do something practical about the problem. I applaud Gordon Brown for this announcement.

It is a shame that it doesn't go further in its ambition and coverage. But to my mind it remains a positive step, and for that should be welcomed.
Posted by Somerset over 9 years ago
'receiving between £100 and £700'. So needs to be eg. £15/month for 3 years = £540 for just the broadband rental. Plus the PC.

Am I missing something here?
Posted by roysad over 9 years ago
How about the Gov 'nationalizing' Tiscali alongside the poor banks !!!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"......poorer kids connected online not only recognises the importance of the internet in terms of giving kids a decent start, but is trying to do something practical about the problem."
Yea... Im gonna go organise a march right now with a banner which will say "FREE Internet and pron for the unemployed layabouts NOW"
You are frankly living in more than hope if you think some young yobbo is going to use it to educate thereself, find work or similar. All they will do is play on their 360 all day babbling gangsta style annoying tripe and swear down their headset to other fools.
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
yep as usual the gov out of touch with reality, just looking for 'popular soundbite' :/ ...
Its like some of these 'urban renewal' projects on TV recently... one part of it was decent playing and training fields, that are still being used, but the arty sculpted centrepeice is getting overgrown...
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