New centres bridge digital divide

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New centres bridge digital divide

Bruce Ackland
The government has announced that it will be opening a further 1,116 UK Online centres over the next few months in order to meet its official target of 6,000 by 2002

The centres are a key initiative of government plans to bridge the digital divide, providing everyone in the UK with access to the Internet.

Announcing the 1,116 centres last week, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Estelle Morris, promised that the government was keeping pace with its e-target.

Internet access is lowest among unskilled workers and people living in impoverished areas. Many UK Online centres are based in the most deprived areas of England to provide opportunities for those with the greatest needs.

"The new centres aim to attract people who may feel technology is not for them into an exciting new world of learning," Morris said.

Last month, the government highlighted the successful implementation of UK Online centres in its progress report on recommendations made in the UK Online Annual Report 2000.

The progress of the centres is a welcome boost to the government's UK Online strategy, which has failed to hit a number of targets that were set out in the annual report.

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