Micro P has defended its sales accreditation on the Home Access (HA) initiative by saying that it wants to open up the programme to hundreds of reseller partners and target schools outside of the scheme with its own mobile PC bundle.
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The Government-backed scheme kicked off in January amid plans to kit out 270,000 children from low-income families with a laptop, security and broadband connectivity through ten suppliers including distributor Micro P.
Simon Woodman, director of business development at the distributor, said it was providing the logistics for the subsidised scheme and would use its accreditation to sub-approve reseller customers.
"As a distributor it is clearly not in our interests to be supplying direct," he said, "we can manage the stock/supply chain element but more importantly wanted to find a way to involve our resellers."
The proportion of children covered by HA represents just 5% of the total market and Micro P has developed three bundles, starting at £17.30 per month that includes a PC device, software and mobile broadband from provider 3.
"The key for us is to get a channel to take advantage of the current scheme and talk to schools about the non-grant package," said Woodman.
Around 370 resellers have expressed an interest in working with the distributor he said, and a website to promote the bundle goes live on 6 April, which prevents customers buying direct from Micro P unless they choose the incumbent partner.
Resellers are then paid a commission; £20 per unit under the HA and £25 for the Micro P initiative. Woodman said it was working with all suppliers in HA apart from Stone Computers.
James Bird, chief executive at Stone, said it used Micro P as a general distribution source but in terms of working with them on this specific project he added, "We view them as competition."
However, other smaller players were not as concerned by Micro P's involvement.
"It's an unusual bold move by a distributor and shows that the market is changing. I think one or two others might have wanted to get involved in Home Access if they had thought of it," said Andrew Rutley, commercial director NS Optimum.