Avonline plc Joins Race Online 2012 in Bid to Get Everyone Online by the London Olympics

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Avonline plc, who provide Integrated Reception Services and Broadband solutions to local councils, ALMO's, social landlords, private landlords and others, has today announced that they have become an official partner in the Race Online 2012 initiative that is aiming to achieve a 100% internet enabled UK by 2012.

Avonline plc today announced that they have become an official partner in Race Online 2012, the landmark challenge led by the UK’s Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox which aims to get the UK 100% internet enabled by the London Olympics.

More than 10 million adults across the UK have never used the internet, and worryingly 4 million of this group are also socially excluded. All of them are missing out on the opportunities and cost efficiencies that the web has to offer.

Of the 4 million adults offline who are socially and digitally excluded:

  •     39% are over 65 years old
  •     38% are unemployed
  •     19% are in families with children

Martha Lane Fox said ‘When the UK is near 100% online the benefits to society and the economy will be significant and mark a step change for the country as a whole. Race Online 2012 aims to show there is both a moral and economic imperative for the wider business community to take the issue of digital inclusion much more seriously.

As an official Race Online 2012 partner, Avonline joins BT, Google, Comet, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Skype, Moneysupermarket, Sky and Talk Talk whose remarkable vision and support has already resulted in a commitment to get a staggering 600,000 new users online.

As the UK’s leading Digital Switchover specialist, Avonline has already helped the tenants in over 150,000 properties get access to digital services. However, until now, the availability of broadband for these properties has been very limited. But now Avonline has launched a unique service aimed specifically at bringing reliable, secure and cheap broadband to every property connected to an integrated reception system. With a patented technology transmitting broadband over coaxial cable, Avonline has successfully demonstrated their unique broadband over IRS product called IRSnet. IRSnet delivers a secure broadband connection to every occupant of a multiple dwelling unit using the existing digital coaxial cable distribution system. This new technology is primarily aimed at providing a safe and reliable broadband service into the properties which currently have one of the lowest broadband penetration segments in the market. In doing so, IRSnet fills a major gap in the current market, provides significant opportunities for councils to interact more efficiently with their tenants and supports the Government’s Digital Inclusion philosophy and the Race Online 2012 initiative. Going one step further, Avonline had also made a commitment to provide basic training to any tenant who is connected through their IRSNet service to help them get started.

Mark Wynn, Managing Director of Avonline, said ‘We are very proud to be an official Race Online 2012 partner and be a part of this incredible cross-sector movement which will put an end to the digital divide forever. We are fully committed to supporting the councils and social landlords in providing services that will help inspire, educate and train the 4 million people in the UK who are currently offline’.

Race Online 2012 wants any organisation of any size to get involved and help tackle the issue. From encouraging business partners to sign up, to teaching friends and family to get online, or by donating old IT equipment locally - there are opportunities for all businesses to make a difference. It’s simple to sign up and it only takes five minutes to register.

To find out more about the Race Online 2012 initiative, of which Avonline is a partner, please visit http://raceonline2012.org

Avonline plc is one of the UK's leading installation businesses. Established in 1981, it has its headquarters in Bristol. The company holds ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 accreditations through BSI. Avonline plc is the national leader in Integrated Receptions Systems design, installation and maintenance providing digital television, radio and broadband services for multiple dwelling units.

Notes to Editors

  •     PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) research was conducted between 16th September and 9th October 2009
  •     For a full copy of the PwC report please visit http://www.raceonline2012.org
  •     Martha Lane Fox was appointed as independent Champion for Digital Inclusion in June 2009. The Prime Minister asked her to broaden her role to become the UK’s Digital Champion in March 2010 see http://raceonline2012.org/sites/default/files/resources/martha_lane_fox.pdf
  •     Digital Inclusion Limited is government funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (through the Community Development Foundation) but is an independent organisation
  •     Martha Lane Fox co-founded lastminute.com, Europe’s largest travel and leisure website, in 1998. She then went on to co-found and chair the private karaoke chain Lucky Voice. In 2007, she launched Antigone, a grant-giving foundation that supports education, health and criminal justice charities to reflect her commitment to social justice. She is non-executive director at Marks & Spencer plc, Channel 4 Television and Mydeco
  •     UK online centres provide millions of people with access to technology and support in using it. They offer free or low cost access to the internet and email, deliver online courses and encourage people to progress onto further learning. For more information, please visit http://www.ukonlinecentres.com

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Helen Drew
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