Martha Lane Fox, founder of Lastminute and the Government’s ‘digital champion’ has announced a scheme for making recycled computers available to the public for less than £100.
Lane Fox said the E-cycle scheme will provide PCs with flat screen monitors for as little as £98 through UK online centres, and could provide a significant element to the Race Online 2012 campaign to get more disadvantaged people online.
The refurbishments will be carried out by Remploy, which specialises in employment services for disabled people, with connectivity to the internet provided by Three mobile. The packages also include a mouse, keyboard, operating system, office software, warranty and telephone support from Positive IT Solutions.
The scheme will be supported by an E-cycle website, designed to be easy for new internet users to navigate.
People will be able to pay online, or offline using Payzone, which allows cash payments at more than 20,000 sites including local convenience stores, garages and post offices.
About 200 computer packages have been set aside for the pilot, which will run through 60 UK online centres. Remploy estimated that about 8,000 people will take up the offer over the next 12 months.
Lane Fox said: “Working in partnership is crucial to getting the UK connected and confident with technology, and the E-cycle scheme is just one of the projects being put together by Race Online 2012 partners across the public, private and third sectors. I am excited about the possibilities this low-cost pilot scheme presents for the many people in the UK who so far have simply not been able to afford to get online.”
Helen Milner, managing director of UK online centres, said: “Although research shows going online can save people around £560 year, we know the cost of setting yourself up at home is still a real barrier for lots of people. Remploy E-cycle provides another economically and environmentally friendly option for first time buyers – and it’s designed specifically for those new to the internet.”