14 September 2007

BT’s Crossing the Divide project

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BT (British Telecommunications plc) is setting up an initiative, called the Crossing the Divide Project, to find out why some people resist using the internet, reports the BBC News website.

The project will employ psychologists to closely study a small group of people to reveal what stops them joining the net-using majority.

The BT project website provides further insight:

For millions in the UK, the online social networking phenomenon, commonly referred to as web 2.0, has really brought the internet to life. People can now go online to access hundreds of services that make their lives easier and help to connect them to friends and family around the world. But 33 per cent of adults are still not online and remain excluded from the increasing number of web-based resources, services and information that many of us take for granted.

The digital divide is not always about a lack of access to the internet. From our work with the charity Citizens Online, we know that some of the biggest barriers are fear and lack of confidence.

To understand these fears and how to overcome them, BT is running a two month trial with participants across the UK. Individuals who have never had access to the internet are being given the technology and support to explore the web for the first time. They are recording their journeys and, at the end of the trial, their experiences will be shared with government, charities and other businesses to see how the process can be scaled-up in future to bring the benefits of the internet to more and more people across the UK.

View project video

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