An alliance between charity Citizens Online and telecoms companies has been launched to promote the internet and digital technology to socially excluded communities.
The Alliance for Digital Inclusion will be an independent industry body led by Citizens Online and will be made up of some of the UK's largest telecom and internet companies including the BT Group, Microsoft UK, T-Mobile and AOL.
The new body was formed following a recommendation by the Government's Digital Inclusion Panel that a new body should promote and encourage digital take-up through social enterprise.
Research has shown that socially excluded groups, including disabled people, the unemployed and the elderly, are less likely to benefit from new technology. Although 61 per cent of UK adults have accessed the internet, only 17 per cent of the over-65s have ever been online.
Citizens Online and its new partners will explore how technologies can fight social exclusion.