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Welsh government: digital delivery plan “progressing well”

The Welsh government has published an audit of its 2011 Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan, claiming developments are on track.

The Plan set out ambitious targets to ensure as many people as possible in Wales could benefit from being online by 2015.

It focused on those least likely to be online, such as the elderly, disabled, unemployed or those who live in social housing.

According to Jeff Cuthbert, Cardiff’s Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, developments in technology such as smartphones and tablets and improving broadband speeds and online services have already “enhanced the digital experience.”

As a result of this, said Cuthbert, 79 per cent of people Wales are now Internet users, compared to an estimated 66 per cent in 2010.

The most recent figures from the National Survey for Wales reveal that Internet usage is increasing across the groups identified as least likely to be using the technology.

“More must be done to tackle digital exclusion”

Despite the positive trends and progress made so far, Cuthbert says the Digital Plan must be revised to tackle the issue that not everyone is benefitting from the digital revolution yet.

“As more and more vital public services move online, those that remain digitally excluded are in danger of being left further behind in society,” claimed Cuthbert.

“Much more needs to be done to ensure the people of Wales are able to use digital technologies to enhance their lives and help overcome disadvantages they may face,” he added.

The updated Inclusion document contains new targets that aim to reduce digital exclusion over the next three years.

Wales intends to work with the public, private and thirds sectors to hit its new goals, which include free inclusive ICT access to priority groups, improved digital education, developing bilingual content to promote engagement and working closely with the UK government on its digital policies.

“Many more organisations across all sectors are embracing digital inclusion, recognising the importance of this agenda, both to themselves and to their customers,” claimed Cuthbert.

“However, there is still a long way to go, with far too many individuals and organisations missing out on the opportunities digital technologies present,” he added.