Microsoft backs £24 PC campaign to help get 11 million digitally excluded Brits online

Microsoft, Simplify Digital and Partners IT are offering people in the UK PCs for as little as £24 as part of the Get Online @ Home programme aimed at eliminating digital exclusion.

The computers are refurbished low-spec models, available to anyone at a cost of £74, but going for £50 less than that for anyone on eligible benefits, including JSA (jobseeker's allowance), disability allowance, carer's allowance, and housing benefit.

The PCs will come pre-installed with Windows 7 Pro and Microsoft Office Basic, giving those on low incomes a chance to learn vital computer skills that may enhance their quality of life or help them get back into the work force.

In an effort to get more people connected to the Internet, the campaign will also offer broadband connections for as little as £3 per month, according to V3.co.uk. This breaks down one of the last remaining digital barriers for those unable to afford considerably more expensive options from the likes of BT. Those who do not avail of the cheap Internet will have to pay an extra £75 for their PC.

For those who do not know how to use a computer or get online, Go ON UK, the non-profit organisation behind the Get Online @ Home campaign, is offering free or cheap IT courses at close to 12,000 Post Office branches throughout the UK.

The measures will go a long way towards addressing the problem of digital exclusion, faced by one in six Britons, according to the National Audit Office.