Who supports the Digitally Excluded in the long term?

Well into the second week at Our Digital Planet, Nominet Trust‘s touring exhibition on the benefits of the Internet, which is currently in Bristol; and interesting issues continue to emerge around barriers to getting, and thriving, online. We’re getting a fair few people through who’ve never been online, but there are also quite a few who have made those initial steps, and then encountered barriers to taking their interest further.

Today, this latter category included someone who had been told the only way to charge his e-reader involved lugging his laptop around with him; and someone else who had been quoted £80 for a software re-install on his PC to recover his forgotten eBay password.

This raises the question of where people like this can go for digital advice when Our Digital Planet moves on? It seems the sources of advice available are either from people with too limited knowledge, or from those who want to rip vulnerable people off by charging them for services they don’t need. The commendable MITP Joining the DOTs project (which I may have had a small hand in) is one example trying to fill this gap, but the needs go way beyond its scope.