Digital exclusion is costing households an estimated £560 a year each, just simply because they can’t access the best deals, whether it be for shopping, bills, holidays, whatever! But a new campaign aims to change all this.
Race Online 2012 aims to get the entire nation online and with me is Martha Lane Fox, who is champion of digital inclusion here in Britain – and also co-founder of Lastminute.com – she’s here to explain what the campaign is all about and how you can get involved.
Q1: So Martha, can you just talk us through what the campaign is?
Martha Lane Fox: Absolutely. I think that all of us who know how to use the internet and who understand a little bit about technology, have a kind of responsibility to pass that on to people who don’t.
I’m sure, like me, you spend a lot of time absolutely glued to your computer, but imagine if your life wasn’t like that and if you had no access to all the products, services, information and entertainment that you can enjoy online, and that’s what Race Online 2012 is all about, encouraging people to spread that IT knowledge.
Q2: Because at the moment about 79% of households have internet access and the aim is to get that as near as possible to 100% by 2012, and one of the things you are doing is you’re asking people like us, to help our friends and family who aren’t online, get online.
So can you explain how the people watching this video can get involved with the campaign?
MLF: Very easily. We have developed some tools that allow you to give a kind of ‘crash course’ to people in how to use the internet, just a couple of hours to whet their appetite and get them interested in what’s available online, and if you go to www.helppassiton.co.uk, you can follow the very easy journey to register and get access to this quick little guide that can help people with their first steps onto the internet.
Q3: Because I think those of us who take it for granted probably forget how enlightening it can be, cant it?
MLF: Yes, I think that is exactly right, and if you think about all the things you can now do online, whether it’s catching up with television programmes, whether its talking to friends and family, whether its looking at photos of friends and family, getting information and Government services, and importantly saving money.
We worked out that families on average save £560 a year if you’re online, that’s £270 even if you are in the most low income household - that’s a number nobody can afford to ignore, and I feel very strongly that we kind of need to make sure that there aren’t 20% of our population who aren’t getting access to those products and services.
CF: And everyone watching this video can do their bit!
MLF: Yes, absolutely right. I walk with a stick and if they don’t, I’ll be coming to get them!
CF: Brilliant, they’ve been warned!
CF: Thank you Martha.