- Monday, 02 July 2012
There are 8.1 million people in the UK who’ve never used the internet and around 4 million of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
So clearly price might be a factor in keeping people off the web. But households save an estimated £560 a year by shopping and paying their bills online, while 7 million jobs were advertised on the internet last year alone.
The benefits are considerable, so what are the costs? Here’s a rundown of some of the cheapest ways to get a web-ready computer.
The Government has launched the GetOnline@Home scheme as part of Martha Lane Fox’s Go On UK campaign, which is working to help get new users online.
If you’re in receipt of certain benefits, including housing benefit, jobseeker’s allowance and income support, you can buy a refurbished desktop computer for £99 or a laptop for less than £170.
Refurbished means that it’s been used but had its factory settings restored, in this case by a Microsoft-accredited company.
Under this scheme, you also receive a 30-day guarantee. If you’re not receiving any qualifying benefits, you can still get a computer through the scheme, you’ll just pay slightly more.
A desktop computer will cost you £149 and you’ll pay £199 for a laptop. Each machine comes ready with the latest Microsoft software as well as security programs. Is it a decent computer?
The machines on offer are pretty basic, so you’ll struggle to play top-end games. However, they are fine for browsing the web and using word processing and other Microsoft Office documents. And for e-mail.
The purchase includes a 15-inch flat-screen monitor, keyboard and mouse, CD drive and USB ports, a P4 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM and 40GB hard drive. There’s also a helpline if you struggle to get started.
Of course, you don’t have to use the GetOnline@Home scheme to buy a refurbished computer – you could pay a little extra and get a higher-spec model from most of the major computer retailers.