Government plans to get 2.7 million people online by 2016

Online and offline sign

The UK government has launched plans to cut the number of people in the UK who are not online by 25 per cent.

The Digital Inclusion Strategy aims to get 2.7 million UK citizens online by 2016 in a bid to increase the social and economic benefits of internet access.

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said it was important to make sure all UK citizens are able to go online.

"We do not want people to feel excluded, our mission is to make Britain the most digitally capable country in the world. A more digitally skilled nation will help us to boost our economy and strengthen communities," he said.

"This new partnership is about making it easier for people to build their digital skills and confidence, with the aim of reducing the number of people offline, so that by 2020 everyone who can be online, will be."

We do not want people to feel excluded, our mission is to make Britain the most digitally capable country in the world

Also launched is a new Digital Inclusion Charter supported by 40 organisations from public and private sectors that is also tasked with the target of bringing down the number of people offline. Firms such as BT, EE, Google and Microsoft have lent their support to the project.

As part of the charter, supermarket retailer Asda plans to host a national programme of free face-to-face advice sessions on going online in 60 stores with The Tinder Foundation. EE will launch a National Techy Tea Party Day in all its UK stores, contact centres and offices on 9 September, providing support for those seeking help with their digital skills.

SMBs and charities will also be offered training materials and masterclasses as part of the strategy.

Graham Walker, chief executive of Go ON UK and Baroness Lane-Fox, Chair Go ON UK said: "Working in partnership is key to ending digital poverty and equipping small businesses and charities with the digital skills they now need to succeed. We welcome the Government's new Digital Inclusion Charter, that builds on Go ON UK's work to get private, public and voluntary sector partners to make commitments towards a shared national action plan.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.