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Volunteer families to shape tomorrow's digital world

Bruce Ackland
The UK government's aim to use digital television as a tool for bridging the digital divide will be boosted by the first Go Digital TV pilot scheme.

Backed by government and industry, the project aims to create a better understanding of the technical and social implications for citizens who hook into the digital economy.

Local authorities in the West Midlands will select 300 representative volunteer households from the Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield and Tamworth areas to take part in the scheme.

E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander believes the project to be the first step in understanding how televisions will be used in the digital environment of the future. "The consumers taking part in these real-world tests will play a vital role in ensuring that the benefits of digital TV can be made more accessible to all," Alexander said.

Culture minister Tessa Blackstone added, "Digital television will transform the communications services available in the home. The pilot project will be vital in assessing the impact on viewers adopting these new services.

The government started to address the widespread lack of access among the UK population to computers, the Internet and the e-revolution back in 1999. Use of digital television was highlighted as an initiative for tackling the "information poor" along with IT for All centres, IT Learning Centres and the recycling of computers to deprived families.

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