October 19, 2010

UK: Drive To Get Millions Of Web Virgins Online

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ISLEWORTH, Middlesex / SKY News / October 18, 2010

Lulu Sinclair, Sky News Online

The Government and businesses have joined forces to launch Get Online Week, a seven-day drive to get non-users to try the web

Thousands of events are planned at centres all over the country where people can go and discover what is on offer.

The goal is to get as many as possible of the 10 million people in the UK who are not already internet-savvy to log on for the first time.

The aim is to show people how easy the internet is to use

BSkyB - the owner of Sky News - is among those sponsoring the campaign, which is now in its fourth year.

It is particularly targeted at older people and those from poorer backgrounds, many of whom could be helped by using the web.

Martha Lane Fox, one of the founders of lastminute.com, is leading the campaign as "UK Digital Champion" through Race Online 2012 and while the campaign has the backing of the Government, all the funding for the week has come from the private sector.

"We're trying to show people that there's a lot more to the internet than they realise," a Get Online Week spokeswoman told Sky News Online.

And, with most new jobs now needing IT skills, it is argued, people who do not have such skills are strongly disadvantaged.

"You don't have to do anything you don't want to, but we want people to see that their lives could be helped with internet connections," the spokeswoman added.

"There's so much information on offer out there, if you only know how to look.

"You can still do all your business transactions offline, if you prefer but, for instance, using the web for research means you can get the best deals."

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