Abstracts: November 1st, 2004

This report by the Digital Inclusion Panel, published by the Cabinet Office, identifies social groups at most risk of digital exclusion and actions to encourage them to take up information and communication technologies that can help improve their lives. Digital technologies include digital television, Internet-enabled PCs and mobile phones. The groups identified as needing support and incentives include unemployed people, people with literacy issues and older people who are not benefiting from or even using new technologies. The Panel found that while 61 per cent of UK adults have accessed the Internet, only 17 per cent of those over the age of 65 have done so.The report makes it clear that partnerships, innovation and enterprise will be the major drivers to further digital engagement. All sectors of the economy need to work together to develop new digital products and services that people will find valuable, compelling and relevant. The Panel recommends that Intellect, the IT industry trade body, should convene a new cross-industry, fully representative group to focus on the implications for digital engagement in the UK of the convergence of broadcasting, telecommunications, broadband and the internet.