100,000 volunteers to lead last 9m Brits online

Britain's digital champion Martha Lane Fox has recruited more than 100,000 volunteers for a campaign to get Britain's estimated nine million Internet hold-outs on-line.

The army of foot soldiers who have signed up to the Race Online 2012 campaign will apparently hang around pubs and school gates trying to persuade the UK's remaining technophobes, the majority of whom are over 55, to use the Internet for the first time.

Lane Fox was originally set the task of getting four million of the UK's poorest people online by the time the Olympic circus rolls into town in 2012, but has now set her sights higher with a plan to turn Blighty into the "the world's first networked nation".

"I'm not asking people to sit down and go through the complications of a presentation or train somebody in complex coding - I just want to enthuse people and inspire them and I think the rest will take care of itself.

"For those people, it's a very simple task - they need to engage people with the joys of being on the internet," she told the BBC.

The 10,000 'Digital Champions' are being asked to inspire people to try the Internet, show people where to learn, point people in the direction of cut-price recycled computer kit offered by the campaign, donate unused PCs and support people during work hours for the cause.

As part of the push, anyone in the UK can get a 'no-nonsense, affordable computer' running Windows 7 for £165, or £95 for anyone involved in a charity or receiving benefits from Get Online @ Home.

Lane Fox has also been tasked with saving the Government money by pushing many of the services it provides online, and a new location-based web portal, which attempts to bundle relevant Government services into a single site, is currently being tested.