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Is a cheap PC and long contract the best way to get people online?
Monday 10 June 2013 09:49:38 by Andrew Ferguson

The drive to get as many people online in the UK as possible continues, the benefit for the Government being that is almost all the population is online that more services can be moved online. For many the barriers are numerous, including the cost of buying their first PC, paying the monthly broadband subscription, worries about their safety online and literacy.

Go ON UK has been running a digital inclusion programme for some time, and Get Online @Home is not a new initiative with some 23,000 computers sold since launching in 2011. The latest offer from Get Online @Home means a desktop computer is available for £24 if you are eligible and a laptop is available for £74 if you commit to 12 to 24 month broadband contract. The £75 saving on the normal PC price (standard price is £99 for desktop PC and £149 laptop) and broadband deals that are available are those listed by Simplify Digital and is limited to packages by Plusnet, Sky, EE, Virgin Media and Primus Saver.

The list of benefits that qualify for the £75 discount are: Housing Benefit, Income Support, Jobseeker's allowance, Pension credit, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance / Constant Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit / Employment and Support Allowance, Disability element of Working Tax Credit.

The broadband packages listed will usually require payment by direct debit and with telephone line rental needed (£10 to £15 per month) when the cheapest broadband service is listed as free (with £62.18 of upfront costs) the scope for people signing up and not fully understanding their financial commitments is pretty large.

We would have liked to have seen a set of simple tarrifs from the providers, rather than just a comparison engine listing. For many people the cheapest route online if they are struggling financially may be mobile broadband if a reasonable service is available and a MiFi dongle with pre-pay usage allowance, this also means people who are not living in a single location for long periods can easily move without cease/provide costs on the telephone and broadband service.


Posted by radialblur over 4 years ago
Wow, lets give spongers more reasons not to go to work (and no, I'm not including the ones who genuinely deserve to be on benefits)!
Posted by tmcr over 4 years ago
I sometimes wonder about the logic in back-to-front offers like this. Someone with no PC wants to get online, applies for this offer but has to sign up for broadband - then wait 28 days for the PC after BB's confirmed as working??? Go on, I'll ask, how ?
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
A neighbour of mine aged 75 has got bb in her property paid for by her son for times when he visits from France so can still do work from here. He would buy her a pc but she doesn't want one because she thinks it would be too much to learn.
This is probably a big hurdle for many older people and what about when it goes wrong? The regular users take for granted their knowledge for understanding why the pc will not connect or what to do if a program will not launch.
I do applaud the offer though.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Ok folks lets keep debate civil and keep the language family friendly.

Obviously any mention of benefits is an emotive subject, but there is no need for name calling and derogatory remarks.
Posted by broadband66 over 4 years ago
My 76 year old mother has no inclination to aquire a PC/laptop as she states " I've managed so far so why should I pay anyone for a computer then pay someone else to access the internet". There are probably thousands of non silver surfers that think the same.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
Interesting offer, except it firmly excludes one city in the UK.

Not exactly inclusive...
Posted by MrTAToad2 over 4 years ago
Unfortunately these are refurbished machines, so the life-time of the device could be short...
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
This assumes they have a phone line already and a bank account. Neither of which are by any means certain. A new phone line would be subject to credit checks or a possible deposit. Talk of upfront fees or costs along with lengthy contracts will be a worry for some. For those living hand to mouth used to dealing with pre-payment energy meters and perhaps doorstep lenders,then I'm not sure that this offer smooths out that many hurdles.

Pre-pay mobile would have been a much better and indeed less scary a prospect for some.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
LOL @ exclusion of 'ull / KCOM subscribers
Posted by francisuk20 over 4 years ago
the older age 70-100 dont wont to use a PC/Laptop, However i think there should be a council network for residents who cant afford a PC/Internet and make that network only for viewing educational stuff, If they wonted to do gaming/facebook/skype then they have to upgrade to say Sky, Virgin Media also making the council network no contract for X amount of days.
Posted by cpomd over 4 years ago
As someone who has recently started claiming Job Seekers allowance I would say that there is no way I could find that sort of money for a PC and certainly could not sign up to a long term contract. The Job centres are all about using the Internet but a quick glance at will soon have you looking for Jobs on the Continent as there are very few in the UK
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
@radialblur Firstly not all who claim benefits are spongers,been listing to that vile little hitler IDS or do you read the daily fail?
If government gets it's way those who are unemployed will sign on via the www, as well as submit their job seeking activity via it,
Not only this but having www access allows them to look for jobs, send their CV's and a telephone is a way that an employer can contact them
Posted by radialblur over 4 years ago
@tommy45... Neither, and I already included the clause: "and no, I'm not including the ones who genuinely deserve to be on benefits"
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
@radualblur:"I'm not including the ones who genuinely deserve to be on benefits" But they all are spongers,regardless if they deserve benefits of not, as per what you appear to implying this and your original post as you labled them as one(tarred with the same brush)
Posted by zyborg47 over 4 years ago
It is not just the older people that have no interest in using the net, i know a few people in their 40's who have no interest, also of one person in their 30's. Some not interested because of cost, it is not so much the computer as you can get a cheap machine these days good enough for online use, but the constant cost per month. Others just don't feel they need to net as they have managed without it.

Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
and not only this but how can you define who does or doesn't genuinely need benefits And yes there will always be a minority that will cheat the system,this cheating anongst us all is part of human nature,As for these computers i would has at a guess that they will be very basic low end, or second hand (based on prices given)
Posted by tmcr over 4 years ago
I'm disabled, almost housebound, and a member of some on-line forums for people like myself. There are many over-60's who are happy to embrace the Internet for knowledge, to gain support for their particular condition and for friendship too. Who says they don't want to use a computer or the Internet? The kit here may be refurbished, but it gives other silver surfers the opportunity to try it out cheaply, although the Broadband discount still sounds impossible to achieve ?
Posted by zyborg47 over 4 years ago
@tmer, I agree with what you are saying, my problem is that some people are not interested and yet are look at as outcasts. I have built low powered, low costs machines for people who want to get onto the net and we find the cheapest broadband for them, that offers what they want as long as it got a good service.

Posted by BTfanboy over 4 years ago
Since you removed my reply to radial i guess you support his ignorant right wing tory views.
tbb pigs.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 1 day ago
Ok folks lets keep debate civil and keep the language family friendly.

Obviously any mention of benefits is an emotive subject, but there is no need for name calling and derogatory remarks.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The post was removed because of the gutter language used, pretty simple.

BTfanboy obviously you have different views to the other poster, and they will remain visible if you can express them without swearing or personal attacks.
Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
ISPReview cut two-thirds of the comments off from an article on the same topic as this.

How come benefits and inclusion can manage to garner so many negative emotions?
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