digital divisions and mixed messages

Yesterday the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed ‘a lack of funds’ for the government’s decision to delay the roll out of 2MB broadband. Labour had set 2012 as a deadline, now Mr Hunt says he does not think there is “sufficient funding in place” to meet that goal.’

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in its recent report A minimum income standard for the UK raises the benchmark for an “acceptable standard of living” from a computer and home internet connection being essential for people with school-age children to essential for all working age households.

Steve Robertson, chief executive of BT Openreach, says “As a society we need to make our minds up about what is an essential element of our social fabric. Today not having broadband makes people feel deprived”

A letter from David Cameron appointing Martha Lane Fox as the UK Digital Champion (18/06/10) says (my emphasis) “…the Government is committed to increasing transparency and accountability through making information systematically available online.  We also want to improve the convenience and efficiency of public services by driving online delivery….To make this happen, we need to encourage more people to go online and hence be able to access public information and services.”

Clear evidence here of digital divides and mixed messages while, maybe not surprisingly, no mention of the digital exclusions that exist even with a broadband connection in place.

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