UK: Government drive to get 7.5 million more people online
The Government has set a target of 60% reduction in the 12.5 million people who are not online in the UK. The target underpins a new drive to reduce the digital divide in the Governments National Digital Participation Plan, published today. The Plan is supported by the skills and expertise of the Consortium for the Promotion of Digital Participation – 60 public and private organisations that work to help people gain the confidence to get online, reap the benefits the Internet brings and get the most from todays digital society.
Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, said:
Being online is crucial for participation in the 21st Century society the Internet unlocks a wealth of information and services, giving people more choice in life and access to a range of education, health and financial opportunities.
That is why we have set an ambitious target to get 60% of those 12.5 million people who arent online, online in four years. Our National Plan is an exciting project which will provide the leadership and framework for existing and emerging digital participation projects to drive a more inclusive Digital Britain.
Bringing people online for the first time and enabling people to interact more creatively will enrich our society and we will ensure no one is left behind.
Helen Milner, Managing Director for UK Online Centres, said:
Its great to have National Plan for all digital participation stakeholders and providers to unite behind as a blueprint for action over the coming months and years. Its by working together that we can make the biggest impact on the digital divide, and make sure everyone gets the chance to take part in a truly Digital Britain.
Government is already funding digital participation activity which will contribute to the National Plans ambition including:
- Up to 12m to support the Plan through work of the Consortium for the Promotion of Digital Participation (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
- 300m for the Home Access programme to provide free computers and internet connections to 270,000 families with school children (Department for Children, Schools and Families)
- 30m over three years for UK Online Centres under the Smarter Government initiative
- In addition, the Governments Universal Service Commitment will pave the UKs networks with good quality broadband so by 2012, every home and business will be able to access a connection capable of at least 2Mpbs.
The Plan sets out the widely shared benefits being online bring to all aspects of society:
- For citizens: financial savings, educational opportunities, employment potential, improved salary prospects, facilitating independent living for the elderly, access to online public services
- For industry: a fully-digitally skilled workforce is vital to business and commercial growth, increased commercial opportunities,
- For Government: building a world leading digital knowledge economy stimulating growth and the UKs ability to compete globally.
The Plan has been developed with a significant contribution from the Digital Participation Consortium whose 60 members including OFCOM, Google, BBC, Sky, UK Online Centres and Age UK, are working collaboratively to help meet the Government target and promote the importance of being online across the UK.
Notes to Editors:
1. Digital Participation was identified as a key area for Government action in the Digital Britain Report, published in June 2009.
2. The National Plan for Digital Participation, supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) can be found at: www.bis.gov.uk/nationalplan
3. The Consortiums programmes which support the Plan include:
- Social Marketing: using members combined marketing channels, communications resources and techniques to bring about public behavior change and promote the benefits of being online. This will ensure new initiatives like the National PC refurbishment scheme, is made known to eligible groups, through widespread cross-Consortium messages.
- Targeted Outreach: working directly with priority groups of people including older people, low income families, unemployed people, and people with disabilities to encourage digital inclusion and improve digital skills with. An example includes Age UKs Digital Inclusion Network which has collaborated with 170 voluntary organisations to provide one-to-one technology training for 200,000 elderly people in places where they feel comfortable.
- Digital Participation Website: will be launched to host the Plan and will feature a database and online community for Consortium members to interact and share best practice and information.
- Mapping: a major exercise to align all existing and forthcoming digital participation programmes to track progress, help combine efforts and identify new cross-Consortium initiatives.
4. To arrange and interview with Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain, or for case studies, statistics and other examples of digital participation projects, please contact Jo Robotham in BIS Press Office on 0207 215 5950
Department for Business, Innovation < Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS – Investing in our future.