Digitally excluded get recycled computers in digital inclusion drive


Digitally excluded get recycled computers in digital inclusion drive

Kathleen Hall

People without access to the internet are to be given low-cost technology to get online, as part of the government's digital inclusion drive.

The "E-cycle" scheme, run by employment services body Remploy, will provide refurbished PCs from £98 to people without access to the internet. Connectivity will be provided with a 3G dongle from Three mobile for £9 per month.

Martha Lane Fox, the government's digital champion, said: "Working in partnership is crucial to getting the UK connected and confident with technology, and the E-cycle scheme is just one of the projects being put together by Race Online 2012 partners across the public, private and third sectors. I am excited about the possibilities this low-cost pilot scheme presents for the many people in the UK who so far have simply not been able to afford to get online."

According to official statistics, 9.2 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, 4 million of which are from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Remploy hopes 8,000 people will take advantage of the offer over the next 12 months.

Tim Matthews, chief executive at Remploy, said: "Being connected to the internet brings so many benefits that it must be right to make computers and internet connections more affordable for people who don't own their own PC."

Around 60 UK online centres across the country will be taking part in the trial.

Helen Milner, UK online centres managing director, said: "Although research shows going online can save people around £560 year, we know the cost of setting yourself up at home is still a real barrier for lots of people. Remploy E-cycle provides another economically and environmentally friendly option for first time buyers - and it's designed specifically for those new to the internet."

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