Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Digital inclusion or digital exclusion: is the glass half full or half empty?

A few year’s ago, Northern Ireland’s local government was keen to make sure that Northern Ireland was the first region in the UK to be 100% broadband enabled. And they were successful. With a mixture of ADSL, cable and satellite, the entire local population can technically receive a speedy internet service.

However, research last year showed that 43% of the population do not use the internet, the worst figure in the UK.

In stark contrast to the recent church-going figures that nearly spawned a post titled “Piety, Piety, It’s big in N I!"

Funded through the Department of Finance and Personnel (whose DUP minister is still unannounced) the EverybodyOnline initiative is now running six projects in Northern Ireland to address this, targeting ...

“groups of individuals who have been identified as disadvantaged in terms of social exclusion, age or disability.

Throughout each of the programmes, the focus is to provide access to technology, while improving the literacy skills, learning opportunities or employability. That is, how people can use computers and Internet for pursing leisure interests, hobbies or for maintaining communication with relatives or friends.”

  • Those with a physical disability
  • Those with a learning disability
  • Older people at home
  • Older people in residential care
  • Socially excluded groups in Derry/Londonderry, as well as Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Back in June, I posted about the 2005 Ofcom survey, which showed NI trailing the rest of the UK in many categories of digital and media literacy.

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