n his speech to reignite the Labour party, Gordon Brown has revealed his government’s plans for a broadband internet access, software and computer scheme worth up to £300m, which will target disadvantaged families on low incomes.
As the snappy title suggests, “Educational Technology Allowance” will be means tested and aims to enable up to 1 million of England’s poorest families to install internet access in their homes due to £100 – £700 a year vouchers. The local authorities who will pilot the scheme are still to be announced but the plan is establish it across England by 2010-2011 to run for a duration of 3 years.
For the moment this scheme will not be available in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland as families will have to wait to see if their Governments can run this without Central Government’s assistance.
However, the problem of certain families being unable to access broadband internet in the home may continue, as this scheme does not take into account the issue of being too far from a local exchange or the exchange not being enabled. Also, when broadband speeds increase due to fibre networks, the voucher scheme may not cover the costs incurred for the poorest families as ISPs increase their tariffs to reflect the quality of the service.
Many people are blogging about this, so the opinions of how effective this will be can be left to the general public.