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Home Computer Initiative

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress his Department has made with the Confederation of British Industry in developing a scheme to replace the home computer initiative; and if he will make a statement. (100017)

The Government are undertaking specific and targeted fiscal interventions to address its digital inclusion strategy. These interventions include:

£50 million over the next two years (2006-07 and 2007-08) for schools to invest in home access to ICT for their students;

a further £10 million (£5 million/£5 million) to provide Internet connectivity to the home access network;

and in SR2004 period we are spending £25 million on UK online centres. There are now over 6,000 online centres in the UK, over half of which are located in the 2,000 most deprived wards in England. So 95 per cent. of the population live within 5 kilometres of one.

More broadly, the Government's policies of competition and liberalisation, underpinned by an effective regulatory regime, have led to greater choice and lower prices for consumers and have led to a situation where over 99 per cent. of the UK have access to broadband. The number of broadband connections has doubled in the past two years to over 10 million and is continuing to grow rapidly.