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Major brands join race to get UK online by 2012

BT, Comet, Google, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Moneysupermarket.com, Sky, Skype and TalkTalk have announced plans to join Race Online 2012, the national challenge led by Martha Lane Fox, which aims to make the UK near 100% internet enabled by the end of the London Olympic year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Major brands join race to get UK online by 2012

BT, Comet, Google, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Moneysupermarket.com, Sky, Skype and TalkTalk have announced plans to join Race Online 2012, the national challenge led by Martha Lane Fox, which aims to make the UK near 100% internet enabled by the end of the London Olympic year.

The first wave of Race Online 2012 partners have all committed significant resources to initiatives that aim to help, inspire and educate everyone to get online.

• BT will aim to get at least 100,000 online for the first time by encouraging all of its staff, consumers and corporate customers to 'Pass IT on' via a series of partnerships which include UK online centres and Age UK.  BT will also build on BT Internet Rangers and will particularly promote young people helping older relatives and friends to go online.

• Comet will aim to 'Pass IT on' to 50,000 digitally disadvantaged individuals via in-store online training for seniors, projects with selected charity and community partners and by offering a low cost computer package for first time users.

• Google will create and print a Simple Guide to the internet that will be distributed nationwide, work with internet developers to create and launch new online tools to make the internet more accessible, and create a Race Online 2012 YouTube channel and promote it widely across YouTube.

• McDonald’s will get new users online through a new ICT training module, asking their 80,000 staff to ‘Pass IT on’ to friends and family, and will also use their Wi-Fi restaurant footprint for customer IT training.

• Microsoft will bring 250,000 new users online through its Britain Works initiative and will run a ‘Pass IT on’ campaign to its 32,000 partners to drive volunteering and host events.  The 700+ Microsoft Academies will also run ‘Pass IT on’ campaigns targeting the digitally excluded.

• Moneysupermarket.com will provide help and guidance for first-time users, inspire their millions of customers to ‘Pass IT on’ to offline friends and family and run training programmes for people in their local community.

• Sky aims to encourage up to 100,000 customers online for the first time by integrating the 'Pass IT on' initiative into its customer communications.  Alongside continuing to offer free broadband to its customers, Sky will also ask its employees to run campaigns aimed at educating friends, families and local communities about the benefits offered through broadband.

• Skype will bring thousands of digitally excluded people online by encouraging Skype users to 'Pass IT on' to offline family and friends and by working with UK online centres to provide training for staff and the equipment to bring people closer together via Skype.

• TalkTalk’s ambition is to get 100,000 new users online via community training at customer contact centres, asking their 4 million customers to ‘Pass IT on’, and trialling a scheme to offer discounted broadband to those who complete a course at UK online centres.

‘The level of vision and commitment from our first wave Race Online 2012 partners has been extraordinary’, said Martha Lane Fox.  “The Race Online 2012 ambition will create profound social and economic change and will mark a step change for the country as a whole. Together we are within reach of our goal to enable the 4 million most socially excluded to benefit from the opportunities and cost efficiencies that the web has to offer”.

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