Government identifies 'digital divide'

Financial support is needed to give poorer people access to computer technology, a government report has urged.

Financial support is needed to give poorer people access to computer technology, a government report has urged.

The report produced by the social exclusion unit, part of the office of the deputy prime minister, said IT equipment, software and internet access was “prohibitively expensive” for many people on low incomes.

In a survey, 77% of respondents thought current trends would widen the “digital divide” and increase inequality, leaving socially excluded groups of people worse off.

“There is a need for financial support to increase people’s access to technology, and for a reduction in the cost of internet connection,” the Inclusion through Innovation report said.

The study also identified market issues behind inequality of access to IT, such as the tendency for IT developers to focus on profitable mainstream markets rather than disadvantaged groups.

Lack of physical access to IT facilities, particularly for elderly and disabled people, lack of IT training and poor basic skills also prevented disadvantaged groups using technology, the report said.

 

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