LONDON A Government developed seven point action plan to close the digital divide will include a national digital challenge for a region to give universal online access to local public services by 2008.
The 'digital challenge' prize will be awarded to a local authority and its partners to give universal on line access to local public services. The winner will have the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to transform service delivery through a by using technology to deliver modern services for modern citizens;
There is also a commitment to give all students the opportunity for pupils to access ICT at home through a low cost national laptop and home PC leasing scheme.
The Home Office has also announced the establishment of a multi agency national internet safety centre to deter criminals targeting children for internet crime and reassure parents. There will also be work with the banking industry to make that sector a market leader in terms of online authentication.
There will be a cross government focus on public service delivery transformed by modern technology and a strategy for achieving that. As part of that strategy, the Government will consider how it moves its business to a wholly digital environment where it is appropriate and cost effective;
Ofcom are to be asked to include in their regulatory strategy for the broadband market a forward look on the prospects for home broadband take up, with a particular focus on uptake amongst the more disadvantaged.