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Ј98 PCs used to tempt last nine million on-line

The UK's nine million heel-dragging Luddites are to be corralled onto the World Wide Web using cut-price PCs as a prod, according to reports.

The Government's digital Wonder Woman, Martha Lane Fox, reckons dangling a sub-Ј100 PC in front of those Brits have thus far managed to avoid the manifold wonders of broadband access to the Internet (or 'the Internet' as the terminally impatient among us now call it) will tempt the indolent and uninterested out of their tech-free stupor, blinking a mewling into a terrifying world of unfettered porn and unfathomable opinion.

сMotivation and inspiration are still two of the biggest barriers, but clearly perception of price is another big deal for people,о the foxy Lane Fox told the Financial Times. сA good price point is certainly part of what helps people get on-line.о

It has been feared for many years that having a society which doesn't have universal access to the Internet and its commercial and educational opportunities will lead to a two-tier society of haves and have-nots.

Lane Fox has led a personal campaign to make sure anyone who wants broadband access should be able to get it, no matter what their income and this is just the latest initiative in that laudable campaign.

The scheme is launched this week and will see refurbished PCs being offered with Linux operating systems and other software, keyboard, mouse and flat-screen monitor for less than a hundred quid through regional training centres.

Lane Fox has also hammered out a deal with ISP 3 which will offer dongle-based mobile broadband for as little as Ј18 a quarter.

Cash Converters has been alerted.

Tags: martha lane fox, personal computer, financial times