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Catch22 Fears Young Brits to be Excluded from Superfast Broadband

Posted: 26th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
ukCatch22, a charity that seeks to help young people find ways out of tough situations by building strong relationships with them, has warned that the rollout of superfast broadband services around the UK could leave many feeling excluded due to problems with cost and availability.

A recent survey conducted by the charity found that 1 in 5 young people have no access to the internet. For a significant number cost will also be an issue – many being unable to afford slower dial-up internet let alone the more expensive broadband.

Of those who are able to access the internet, the vast majority used a computer, but many of these had to rely on a computer outside the home. This raises issues of easy and confidential access to the internet.

Joyce Moseley, Catch22 chief executive, says:

"While infrastructure development is important, it’s a bit like building roads when very few people have cars. We find that many of the young people we work with don’t own or have access to computers to get on to the information superhighway.

We’re concerned that young people who are unable to access the internet for a number of reasons, including cost and availability, will be excluded from this expansion process, making it difficult for them to get the support and information they need. Alongside infrastructure building, investment is needed to help young people acquire the means of accessing the internet."

Happily the government has now confirmed that they will "prioritise the roll-out of broadband to rural neighbourhoods" (here), which should eventually help to at least tackle the availability problem. In addition the rollout of fibre optic broadband services could, if done correctly, provide for a more competitive and thus lower cost environment.

Sadly the current state of our economy means that it would be difficult for the government to solve all of these problems, although the issues raised by Catch22 will still need to be addressed.
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