Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

UK Government Broadband Plan - The £98 Computer

Borrowing a page from computing projects in developed nations, Martha Lane Fox, the UK's "digital tsar", recently announced a program that will offer refurbished computers to UK consumers. These PC systems will be priced at only £98 and will include wireless broadband, flat panel screens, keyboard, mouse, telephone tech support, and delivery. Over 60 retail outlets are planning to sell these systems.

With a price that low for PCs, the UK will be performing an interesting experiment in supply and demand. The basic assumption of the program is that consumers cannot afford PCs. The interesting question will be whether the PC "have-nots" actually want a PC or to be online. While many of us who live and die by our e-mail and online access, there is a segment of the populace that just does not see the value of being online. So, will those without PCs snap up these £98 goodies? Will they be purchased by existing PC owners as computers for the kids? Will application developers spend their resources to create versions of their apps to run on these platforms (likely to be Linux)? Time will tell...

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