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Government earmarks £300m for laptops and broadband for poor households

Discussion in 'News' started by wagnerk, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator


    Government earmarks £300m for laptops and broadband for poor households

    The government is to spend £300m on laptops and broadband connections for poor households in England in an effort to bridge the digital divide.

    Prime minister Gordon Brown told the Labour Party conference this would bring the internet to a million more families.

    "We will fund over a million extra families to get online, on the way to our ambition of Britain leading the world with more of our people than any other major economy able to access the internet and broadband," he said.

    The programme will work through local authorities with a pilot starting in November 2008 and a full roll-out a year from now. Families on income support or unemployment benefits will be able to apply for a "Home Access" grant to buy a package from accredited suppliers. The programme aims for universal home access by 2011.

    Read the whole article here.

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    1. greenbrucelee
      I heard that it was going to be linked to schools so these 'low income famillies' could keep track of their kids n stuff. :blink

      Personally I think the money would be better used on hospitals and schools. I don't think its fair to give someone free broadband who won't work. I don't mind if it is for someone who can't work.

      If you do work I find it difficult to believe you can't afford BB you can get some packages for £6 a month.
    2. dales
      yes, nice idea but quite a few pitfalls to get over first. What happens if any of the equipment goes faulty, is it then the governments responsibility to provide a laptop to the household asap, (if so I expect ebay might get a few more spares or repairs listings).

      I dont mind helping out those in need but is the internet really at the essential stage. Its only really an essential when you've got a computer but if you dont have one then you dont **NEED** the internet. Also what happens to those who do not have a tv (or licence for that matter) as any computer these days is capable of receiving TV content (bbc iplayer, and live streams means you must have a tv licence) whos gonna pay for that... oh yes thats going to be me then!
    3. tripwire45
      I know this sort of thing is being done to close the "digital divide" between the "haves" and the "have nots", whether between different income brackets in a country or to bring a "developing country" closer to "mainstream" Internet access. This is all about information and trying to level the "playing field" in terms of who has access.

      That said, the ability to own a computer and access the Internet is more or less the same as the ability to own a TV, a car, buy a newspaper (does anyone do that anymore), or any other privilege. As much as we'd all like the world to be fair, it isn't. If the world was "fair", I'd have a full-time permanent job with benefits instead of a (potentially) long term contract job with no benefits (I could have benefits if I paid an outrageous fee for them, but it would cut my take home pay in half).

      If there's a big pile of money just sitting around with nothing to do, in my opinion, it would be better spent on other things. The last time I looked, people were still starving to death in the world, the medical needs of children in "developing countries" largely goes unmet, the world economy is apparently tanking. Do "underprivileged" families need a computer and Internet access before three square meals a day, medical assistance, and a steady income?
    4. GrumbleDook
      The digital divide has been attacked with varying success over the years within the UK.

      We have the eLearning Foundation who help schools provide equitable access to large groups of families, but fall down on schools needing to make large scale (and often expensive / unsustainable) changes to their IT infrastructure, support and curriculum.

      We have had Computers for Pupils as a means-tested methods of getting machines out to those that need them, which has fallen down in some regions due to lack of engagement by LAs due to the sometimes small numbers of students targeted.

      We now have connectivity for the deprived. this could be done in a number of ways and i will wait and see what is offered, whether it will be done on a regional, LA, school or family level.

      Now ... there are other ways of doing this.

      We are looking at making sure students have access to the internet / computers as part of their learning. hmm ... don't we already have a number of methods?

      Libraries are happy to have families in to use their systems and since they can often be part of the same education network the schools are on then you have fast access to the resources used by the students (sometimes even better than being at home!)

      Many schools run computer clubs and homework clubs. Schools have to be centres for the community too and this can be extended days and allowing families in to work with their children on the computers.

      Many youth centres have access to the internet for this too ...

      Personally I would prefer to see more time and money spent on the extended education opportunities than vouchers that will be abused by providers and suppliers, or misused by families (there are always a small minority that work out ways to do it!)
    5. postman
      TBH how many of these people who don't have access to the internet and/or a computer smoke or drink, no matter what our politicians think, some people put their priorities elsewhere.:(
    6. Mof
      Bravo well said,:clap If they want access to a computer or internet use the library,its free and there is someone on hand if you have any questions. Will it be free electric to use the computer next. I expect ebay will have alot of unwanted presents for sale if this goes ahead.
    7. greenbrucelee
      Exactly rep to both :D The computers will end up in cash converters so the druggies can get some smack
    8. Mof
      I know, makes you feel the world has gone mad, cant get cancer treatment but here have a laptop.mabe they can find a cheaper drugs online if you live long enough.They should spend the money heating the homes of the elderly,I would pay more taxes for that, should'nt die of the cold in this day and age.
    9. greenbrucelee
      I know what you mean, our governments priorities are all wrong.
    10. NightWalker
      I am with you guys on that one.
      James Whale for Prime Minister.
    11. Mof

      James whale would have the elderly put down at a certain age, send the unemployed down coal mines and have the Army use people with asbo's for target practice, Not all bad then im coming round to your thinking.:D
    12. neutralhills
      I'm for it if the computers and Internet access are used responsibly. Having the Internet in your home gives a person access to an untold wealth of information, which can be use for education and self-improvement. I'm all for giving people the tools to better themselves (teaching a man to fish versus giving him a fish, and all that).

      My recommendation is that these laptops should have their usage monitored and the laptops removed if the owners do nothing more than surf porn and play games. Yes, it's an invasion of privacy, but guess what? If you don't like it, buy your own damn laptop and Net access!
    13. NightWalker
      That's two votes for James Whale, only 27 more needed to get more votes than the Labour party will at the next general election.
    14. Phoenix
      My thinking is more inline with Tonys

      Attach community areas to schools with free internet access, or free wifi for those who have laptops
      keep them open late and have them open early

      Let students use the resources after school, or before with or without parents

      hell if you have the space, attach the community library to the same place, make the school an active part of the community again, and find imaginative ways to encourage students and adults to want to learn

      don't just throw laptops and free broadband at individuals, for every hour that laptops not used its a waste of money, for every kb of porn and you tube downloaded, its a waste of money

      I'm all for unrestricted internet access at these places mind, its much less of a waste if everyone can share in the wealth of the resources though

      At the university here I spend most the days in the student union building, there are a scattering of desktop kiosks around for internet browsing, Wifi throughout, and students can even check out laptops for 2 hours from the info desk for those who do not have the means to own one, these initiatives make much more sense to me than giving individuals a large sum of tax money without even knowing of they will ever use it in the manner intended

      I find there are lots of people who wine about the difficulties they face, but as has been mentioned, Librarys have had computers for a long time, and internet access, anyone with the desire can take the initiative, and we already give most of the unemployed folks free bus fare! :)

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