Despite its importance and a wave of initiatives from the government, a Digital Champion, Race Online, thousands of UK Online Centres and the government throwing more money at it ( £30 million) last year, the closing of the digital divide is a digital disappointment, especially the grey divide.

We’ve had loads of glossy high profile promotions from the digital inclusion hierarchy over the past few years but in stark contrast I haven't seen much regarding the latest disappointing figures from the ONS.

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics 8.73 Britons have never used the Internet a reduction of just 500,000 over the last twelve months.

Many people seem to think that efforts to close the digital divide only started in 2009 when Martha Lane Fox was appointed Digital Inclusion Champion.

In fact efforts to close the digital divide have been going on since Tony Blair took office in 1997. Although he didn't have the title of Digital Inclusion Champion, Tony Blair certainly championed digital inclusion.

In March 2000 Tony Blair said “The government has made a pledge that everyone will have universal Internet access by 2005 and all government services will be available online by the same date.”

When comes to IT governments are not very good and the target date to have all services online has moved and moved and moved from 2005 to the latest target of 2014.

Similar with digital inclusion where the figures wouldn’t have been much different if the government had done nothing. Work it out for yourself 300,000 to 400,000 people aged over 65 die every year in England and Wales the majority having never used the Internet. Time to rename raceonline2012?

August 2011