Microsoft to spend £3m to make UK Net savvy

Microsoft is to spend £3 million on a summer initiative to make UK users more Net savvy.

The 'Get on the Net' initiative is an attempt to get "all types of people, from all walks of life" to try the Net, said Microsoft.

UK citizens are slower than people in many other industrialised nations to spot the benefits of Internet usage at home and at work, said Microsoft in a recent report. The research suggests while there is an elite of skilled Net surfers, there is a much larger chunk of the UK population which is suspicious of the Internet.

The campaign will consist of a TV blitz to get the message across that the Net can be useful and fun - followed up by the pressing of one million free CD-ROM's which will provide an offline simulated Internet experience. For those who do not have a PC at home, Microsoft is arranging several 'Internet Weeks' and live demonstrations and hands-on opportunities at cyber cafes around the country.

"Most people have heard about the Internet but have not used it because they think it holds no relevance to their lives," said Peter Shackleton, Microsoft's 'Get On The Net' manager. Shackleton said Microsoft wants ordinary people to associate their name with the Internet and ultimately the company hopes to sell more software as a result of its investment in the initiative.