The digital divide is hoped to be shrunk through an initiative backed by Race Online 2012 who are to offer refurbished PC's for £98. Race Online are headed up by the government's digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, who has been tasked with getting more people online and it's hope that the £98 package including a monitor and telephone support will help those who can't afford a computer to get online.
Whilst still at a pilot stage, Remploy hope to sell around 8,000 PC's this year through 60 UK online centres which offer computer training. They will run open-source software such as Linux and there will also be a reduced-price mobile broadband deal with Three to help make the Internet more affordable. The Three offer is expected to cost £9 a month or £18 for three months.
"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. A good price point is certainly part of what helps people get online.
Compared with other technology, [the £98 deal] makes a computer – that was previously at a similar price to an expensive TV or washing machine – look a bit more like something a lot cheaper, whether it's a mobile phone or a games console."Martha Lane Fox, Digital Champion
An investment in a PC with Internet access can offer many savings to consumers. The Networked Nation manifesto launched last year by Race Online estimated that shopping and buying utilities online can save up to £560 a year.