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Government to launch free Internet tasters

The latest phase of the push to get the UK population online will involve major IT firms and voluntary groups, in partnership with UK Online
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

The British government is poised to unveil a new drive to boost take-up and use of the Internet in the UK.

On Tuesday, the government will launch its "Get Started" campaign in collaboration with several major IT companies and voluntary organisations.

Under the new scheme, people will get a free taste of the Internet, and the government is hoping that this will increase the percentage of the population who are online.

The DTI has confirmed that Patricia Hewitt, secretary of state for trade and industry, will launch Get Started tomorrow. A DTI spokeswoman explained that the government believed the Internet had a valuable role to play in fighting social inclusion, as it can make it easier for disadvantaged groups to access government services.

There is, though, growing concern both within government and the online industry that the Internet take-up is stalling in the UK. As ZDNet UK reported back in February, growth in Internet take-up by residential customers had slowed sharply over the last year, and has reached a plateau of around 42 percent of the population.

Companies taking part in Get Started include BT, Microsoft, Intel, and the BBC. Voluntary sector partners include Age Concern and Citizens Advice.

For everything Internet-related, from the latest legal and policy-related news, to domain name updates, see ZDNet UK's Internet News Section.

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