It's not the first time that the idea of a computer for those unable to afford one has arisen in The UK, but Martha Lane Fox's proposal to sell refurbished computers costing £98 with the help of Remploy is one that needs to be considered.
Remploy is not your everyday company; it is a government-sponsored organisation and the largest employer of people with disabilities, securing 10,000 jobs for disabled employees every year.
A quick look at Remploy's eBay page gives a glimpse of the kind of system that may eventually be sold through the scheme; these include a Dell Optiplex GX270 desktop with a Dell LCD TFT monitor for under £100. Despite the fact that eBay charges 10 per cent of the selling price outright, it looks as if getting a decent computer for under £100 is not such an impossible task.
For this, you get a P4 2.6GHz computer with 512MB RAM, a 40GB hard drive, Windows XP, a CD ROM, keyboard, mouse and a 17-inch LCD monitor. In addition, users can expect to get an Office package (most likely Open Office, warranty, telephone support AND delivery).
As the company enjoys a close relationship with the public sector, it is also likely that many - if not most - of the refurbished computers will come from the government.
Mobile phone operator Three UK has also been named as a partner in the scheme to provide wireless broadband access for as little as £6 per month, which would probably include a 5GB per month data package.
Considering that back in 2008 the Labour government promised to equip 150,000 families with laptops and broadband connection for £2000 per households, the £300 million budgeted then would have helped purchase more than 3 million of the Remploy PCs.