Major brands back push to get entire UK population online

Moneysupermarket, McDonald’s and Microsoft are among brands backing Race Online 2012, a scheme headed by the Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion Martha Lane Fox to get 10m people online by 2012.

Moneysupermarket co-founder Fox is calling on brands to promote the Pass IT On campaign, which encourages those already online to convince someone they know to get on the web through initiatives such as local help centres.

The drive comes after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report said the economic benefit of the entire UK population being online would be £22bn.

Fox said, “The companies are coming together to help get all those not currently using the internet online, specifically people who are the most hard to reach and the most socially and economically disadvantaged.”

Moneysupermarket will provide help and guidance for first-time users near its North Wales offices, including running training programmes for people in the local community.

Fox added companies must be more basic in their approach to how they promote the benefits of online, with many people still nervous about using the web.

“Saying ’Talk to friends for free’ or ’See TV shows after they’ve be on telly’ simply explains the benefits,” she said.

Moneysupermarket CEO Peter Plumb agreed that simplifying messages was an important approach. “We’re making access to the Pass IT On content highly visible on the site as well as working locally,” he said. “If we can support getting new people online that can only be a good thing for the industry.”

Last year Ofcom’s UK Adults Media Literacy interim report found 41% of households with adults aged 65 and over had internet access, compared with 26% in 2007 ( 15 October 2009).

More information can be found at Race Online 2012.

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