Digital divide on the increase

The "digital divide" between rich and poor is getting worse in the UK, according to a survey by the Office for National...

The "digital divide" between rich and poor is getting worse in the UK, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics, released yesterday.

Thirty two percent of homes had access to the Net in September, a figure which was double the number of 18 months previous, but hides a growing gap between the richest and poorest households. More than 60% of the most well-off homes have Internet access while only 10% of the bottom 40% can surf from home - and the numbers are growing far more quickly among the wealthier sections.

Comparing the year to September 2000 with the year to March 2000, the proportion of the lowest 10% of income earners with Internet access grew from only 6% to 7% while the among the richest 10% that figure grew 14% to 62%. Cabinet Office minister Ian McCartney said the Government was determined to meet its targets of having all schools and public libraries online by the end of 2002. He said that hundreds of online centres would be opened and reconditioned computers would be distributed to low income families.

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