Oldham and Suffolk get free internet

In September, PM Gordon Brown declared that all households in the UK should have access to the Internet.

And now the first two areas which will benefit from the government scheme to get all of us connected have been announced.

School children in Suffolk and Oldham are going to get free access to computers and the Internet at home.

Schools minister Jim Knight has announced that kids in these areas will benefit from "home access" pilots, which will start in February next year.

They will provide up to 20,000 7- to 18-year-olds from low-income families with financial support to get online.

This money can be used for a computer, software and internet access for 1 year, plus technical support for 3 years.

This is part of a nation-wide scheme, announced by PM Brown who vowed that low income families will get vouchers up to £700 in value to get their household connected up to the Internet.

Around 1.4 million homes could benefit from the new deal - with means tested vouchers worth between £100-700 sent out to pay for broadband connections, technical support or even computers.

Minister Knight said: "The bottom line is that having home access to the internet or a computer is no longer an optional extra for school work - it is fast becoming essential".

"Schools are revolutionising how they educate, faster than many families realise. There is no substitute for good classroom teaching, but day-to-day school work is increasingly web- and computer-based - and it is clear that students get better results where technology is used effectively at home to study, research and communicate", he added.


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