Broadband News

Race Online 2012 to bring sub-£100 PC's to market

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.


It's a good idea, but are Broadband equipment and security software included?

It wouldn't be a stunning success story if many of the PCs became infected, or if users had to splash out on a modem or router.

  • camieabz
  • over 7 years ago

I'm sorry but camieabz, did you even read the article fully?
It clearly stated that a deal with Network 3 provides internet access (Broadband speeds debatable) for either "£9 a month or £18 for three months" then virus protection, the PC's will be using Linux, which apart from being nowhere near as prone to viruses and the like as Windows machines, either come with virus protection as standard, or its something that can be downloaded from within Linux itself for free (which I would have thought would be done before being shipped anyway).

  • bowrolio
  • over 7 years ago

Shame that the internet connection is via mobile given there are big gaps in coverage like all of the mobile operators. It will hardly give these new users an amazing "broadband" experience with a UK average speed of around 1Mbps - what happens if they try to use Youtube etc?

I know that some fixed broadband users get 1Mbps or less, however at least some of us get much better speeds than that. Very few, if any, mobile broadband users will see anything like the 5Mbps download speed or so that average fixed broadband users get in the UK.

  • New_Londoner
  • over 7 years ago

I like this idea, at least in principle. There are lots of re-usable ex-corporate PCs for well under £100 for one. Buy in quantity, add refurb monitors and sundries and £100 should buy an OK Linux system.

3G also is nice and simple (when it works) and entirely appropriate for ultra-light usage such as form filling.

Of course whether there's really any customer benefit other than an excuse to close government contact centres etc is arguable.

"save up to £560 a year."

On a total of? For low income households? Mad.

  • c_j_
  • over 7 years ago

PS anybody who can't wait for this scheme can get reasonably close today. The posh end is Morgan Computer (system, monitor, Windows XP, £140) and the bargain end is ebay (~£50 for system with XP, less without??). Search for HP DC7100 SFF or similar. Built like tanks, last forever. Maybe add a bit more RAM, and a DVD instead of CD.

Ebay prices for these seem to have risen slightly in the last few weeks??? (I bought 4 separate ones last year for me+others) Maybe word has leaked?

If Ms Fox is also organising decent telesupport for this Linux, I definitely approve.

  • c_j_
  • over 7 years ago


I missed the Linux bit, and it's good to know that it will 'probably' come with AV.

I don't see anything that states BB kit is supplied. A BB service, certainly.

  • camieabz
  • over 7 years ago

Affordable PC's?

I think poor people have much more to worry putting food on the floor.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

To be fair otester, online utilities, communications, banking and many other facilities could reduce the annual costs of billing or increase the chance of better price quotes.

Then there's online learning. A must for many situations these days.

  • camieabz
  • over 7 years ago


Then they gotta find £20 for internet per month.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago


Per the article:

"The Three offer is expected to cost £9 a month or £18 for three months."

Six quid a month or £72 p.a. In this last year I shaved around £500 p.a. off my utility bills by shopping around online.

  • camieabz
  • over 7 years ago

I dont know about in england but in Scotland we have free internet access in the librarys.I know its not ideal for learning online but it can be used for saving money on utilities etc

  • shamus72
  • over 6 years ago

Post a comment

Login Register