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More About the £98 Lane Fox PC From Remploy

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 e (opens in new tab)B (opens in new tab)ay page (opens in new tab) 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.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.