Martha Lane Fox scheme to offer £98 Linux PCs

Martha Lane Fox, the government’s digital champion, is launching a scheme this week to sell refurbished PCs for £98 to help bridge the UK’s digital divide.

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Martha Lane Fox, the government’s digital champion, is launching a scheme this week to sell refurbished PCs for £98 to help bridge the UK’s digital divide.

The computers will run on open source operating systems and software , and the price includes a flat-screen monitor, mouse, keyboard, telephone support, warranty and delivery.

At present, 9.2 million adults in Britain still do not have access to broadband, and Lane Fox (pictured) believes that the low-priced offering will help to address this.

“Motivation and inspiration are still two of the biggest barriers [to using the internet], but clearly perception of price is another big deal for people” she told the Financial Times.

“A good price point is certainly part of what helps people get online.”

Remploy, which provides employments services and employment to people experiencing barriers to work, will be refurbishing and selling the computers.

Although currently in its pilot stage, the company expects to sell 8,000 packages this year, through 60 UK online centres that offer computer training. Charities may also be able to sell the PCs.

Lane Fox said: “We have an opportunity here in the UK to make sure we are achieving internet skills and usage as high as TV usage.

“We should be using our old computers and refurbishing them to close the gap in this country.”

Last month, Lane Fox backed Microsoft’s GO ON: Give Someone Their First Time Online campaign, which aimed to encourage Brits to recycle their old PCs at any Age UK charity shop.

Users will also be able to access a broadband deal with mobile operator Three, costing £9 a month, or £18 for three months, which Lane Fox arranged through her digital inclusion initiative Race Online 2012.

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