Watchdog calls for `Net' gains
Thursday 11 April 1996
A network of public computer kiosks, similar to the payphone system, should be set up to make sure the less well-off are not excluded from the information revolution, a consumer watchdog said yesterday.
The National Consumer Council wants "PC boxes" put into libraries, hospitals and community centres, so that people unable to afford a computer can surf the Internet.
It can cost a minimum of pounds 700 plus VAT for an IBM-compatible personal computer and around pounds 150 a year to link up to information services providing access to the Internet. Less than a quarter of UK households have a computer.
The telecommunications watchdog Oftel has already proposed extending universal service in telecommunications to cover multi-media facilities in schools for five to sixteen-year-olds. The NCC wants these proposals extended to all consumers in public access points, with special facilities for the housebound.
A version of this idea exists in the Cambridge area. The Cambridge On- Line project, sponsored by the local cable company and the Internet service provider Pipex, has six terminals across the city. Addenbrookes hospital also allows access to council services, local voluntary groups and the Internet as a whole.
Ruth Evans, NCC director, said: "We are living through a technological revolution with telecoms, broadcasting and computing converging fast. The information society could bring untold benefits - access to information, advice and educational services locally, nationally and internationally.
"However, regulation has not kept pace with the changes. We need a more effective regulatory structure to ensure open access, full choice, fair prices and adequate consumer protection."
Barclays and Lloyds banks will shortly introduce 50 kiosks where people will pay to surf the Internet and receive e-mail.
Eva Pascoe, training director and co-founder of the Cyberia cafes, said: "It's good idea in principle. A kiosk would be OK if all you wanted was stupid, mindless touch-screen shopping, but there is no easy way to get round the Internet at the moment without training."
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£19500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Knowledge of and ability to use...
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...