This week saw the launch of the Manifesto for a Networked Nation. The report from Martha Lane Fox, UK digital champion, once again sees the issue of Digital Britain and an engaged digital society, raised to the top of the public and media agenda.
The report leads with a headline stat there are 10 million people in the UK who do not have access to the internet. This huge chunk of British society is thereby excluded from the benefits that being online brings, such as access to 24-hour public services, accessibility to a wider and more price-competitive range of goods and services, new communication tools like email and Skype, online social networks and so much more.
The objective laid out in the report is that these 10 million people should be brought online by the end of this Parliament (2012) – this should be our “Olympic legacy”.
This renewed focus on bringing all of British society online is good news for public and private sector alike.
At Adobe we’ve seen first hand how organisations within the public sector have made exceptional progress in extending the reach of online services. Adobe customer Southwark Council is one very good example where citizen engagement has improved dramatically – by moving more public services online – but at the same time the cost of delivering these services has been reduced.
Similarly, in the private sector organisations welcome the opportunity to engage with more customers through online channels, servicing them more efficiently.
There is a lot to be done to achieve what is set out in the Manifesto. And, a Networked Nation will succeed if both public bodies and private organisations strive to be as innovative and creative as possible in not only getting the 10 million online, but by creating content that is easily accessible, engaging and relevant to the lives of the British population.