Headlines: March 19th, 2001

Some 12,000 homes in six communities across England will be wired up either with computers of digital TV as part of the Wired Up Communities programme. Because technology is creating a divide between those who can access the digital world and those who cannot, it is crucial to find out what difference it makes to those on the wrong side of the divide. This pilot programmes will explore the effect computers have on people’s lives. The homes selected for wiring up represent most of the people on the wrong side of the digital divide and they include those who come from semi-skilled or unskilled family backgrounds.Training and support will be offered to those receiving equipment, and a specially designed website will be set up to encourage participants to access learning and employment opportunities on the web. A range of technologies will be tested, including broadband and narrowband access, satellite communications and digital television.

Schoolchildren in Wired up Communities areas will also benefit through the support of the national e-Learning Foundation, which will act as a catalyst in the development of local e- Learning Foundations to provide Information, Communication and Technology devices for children to use in school and at home. . The national e-Learning Foundation is a recently- formed charity which aims to promote the use of ICT in education and ensure that every pupil in the UK has an ICT device as a tool for learning and living.