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UPDATE RaceOnline Seeks to Get EVERYBODY in the UK on the Internet by 2012

Posted: 12th Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
uk internet race online 2012The UK "Champion" for Digital Inclusion and head of the Race Online 2012 initiative, Martha Lane Fox, has said that she will now "attempt to get 100% of the UK population online by the time of the London Olympics [2012]". This represents a significant expansion on the original aim to get only the 4 million most digitally and socially excluded people connected.

Back in March the former governments minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, revealed plans to get 7.5 million new internet users online by March 2014. This equated to a 60% target reduction in the 12.5 million people who were not currently online in the UK.

However according to the latest Race Online figures, more than 10 million adults across the UK have never used the internet, and 4 million of this group are also socially excluded. Fox claims that all of them are missing out on the opportunities and cost efficiencies that the web has to offer.

Race Online 2012 Update

PwC figures show that if everyone in the country was online, total benefits to the UK will be in excess of £22bn and households will save £560 a year. With increased numbers of people online, IAB member organisations will also have the opportunity to extend their customer bases and grow the increasingly vital digital economy.

We believe Race Online 2012 is a vital initiative which will not only bring huge social benefits, but will help in the development of a crucial area of growth for this country.

However the task is by no means easy to achieve, especially during times of financial hardship. There are many reasons why people do not use the internet or cannot get online, some simply don't have the money, others lack a computer or the education necessary to use one and then there are those who just don't want to go online.

The Race Online 2012 project aims to turn the UK into one of the first countries in the world to establish a fully online, internet enabled society. In our opinion we do not think the 100% goal is achievable by 2012 but that doesn't mean to say it shouldn't be attempted.

Clodagh Murphy, Director of ISP Eclipse Internet UK, said:

"Ten million Britons are not yet on the net, but if Martha Lane Fox can reach this ambitious target – those ten million Britons will generate 22 billion for the British Economy according to PriceWaterhouseCooper.

The most crucial part of this manifesto is understanding that achieving this target and boosting the economy will undoubtedly generate more revenue for Britain’s small businesses.

As a small business provider, this potential in the market is hugely exciting – with impressive results. By helping bridge the digital divide Eclipse Internet can help the UK economy and help small businesses."

At the time of writing 423 partners have committed to help 1,646,457 people get online. The UK government is also seeking to plug all of the country's broadband not spots with a minimum ISP speed of 2Mbps by 2012 (Universal Service Commitment). Sadly this commitment is somewhat lofty as it does not consider other critical issues like upload speed, the need for low latency connections, flexible usage allowances or even affordability.

UPDATE 1:30pm

Added a quote from Eclipse Internet.
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