UK ‘digital champion’ Martha Lane Fox is trying to drag Britain’s online homes and businesses into the connected world.
Go On UK is the successor to Race Online 2012, which set out to get more people and business online before the 2012 Olympics – and connected 2 million people in three years.
It combines Age UK, BBC, the Big Lottery Fund, energy firm E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office Limited and TalkTalk with a £1m annual budget.
As well as 8.2 million adults who have never used the internet, they’re reaching out to the 86 per cent of small businesses which don’t have a website for selling their products.
The project is being lead by Martha Lane Fox, the founder of Lastminute.com who was appointed the UK’s ‘Digital Champion” by David Cameron in 2009.
Lane Fox, who also lead Race Online 2012, said: “The UK leads the world in most indicators of digital capability: the internet contributes more to our GDP than to that of any other G20 county and is predicted to grow 11 per cent a year to reach £221billion by 2016.
“However, many individuals and organisations still struggle to exploit the broader benefits of technology, a problem that is particularly acute for our small businesses, older people and charities that are currently at risk of being left behind.
“Go On UK has an exciting vision to make the UK the world’s most digitally capable nation where no one – old or disadvantaged and no organisation – even the smallest – is left behind.”
TalkTalk is hosting Go On UK’s staff at its London customer service centre and some partners have specific goals.
E.ON, for instance, wants to see two-thirds of its customers managing their energy accounts online by 2020 so they can take more control of the energy they use. Lloyd’s Banking Group hopes that it can make new start-up businesses more sustainable and efficient.
One of Go On UK’s key campaigns will be ‘Go ON – Give an Hour’, aimed at getting people to give an hour of their time to help someone they know to get online.