UK Government Online
Ukonline.gov.uk currently focuses on PC enabled Internet access. Over time the
range of media through which ukonline.gov.uk can be accessed will be increased to
include kiosks, mobile phone and Digital/Interactive television, call and contact
centres and other emerging hand held devices. In particular, Digital and Interactive
TV (DTV) presents government with a real opportunity to cross social boundaries by
bringing the Internet into every home via the familiar TV set. Already
ukonline.gov.uk is available on some DTV platforms, although much work remains
in designing content and presentation for this medium and widening the number of
platforms on which ukonline.gov.uk is delivered.
Almost two thirds of the UK population now has a mobile phone. The launch of WAP
enabled mobiles, third generation telephony and other hand held devices marks the
widening of access points to the Internet. The government is currently considering
the capabilities of such new media and the role they can play with ukonline.gov.uk.
Game consoles are also being considered as an alternative means of accessing
ukonline.gov.uk. Sega s Dreamcast, launched in late 1999, and Sony s Playstation2,
are the first to have Internet access, to be followed by Nintendo s Dolphin and
Microsoft s X box. The number of Internet enabled consoles in the UK is expected to
see rapid growth in the next two years. The extent to which Internet capability
through game consoles is use remains unclear, but current developments indicate
the scope for growth in alternative access channels to the PC.
As a medium, DTV offers real convergence of the TV and IT worlds. It requires
minimal technology understanding and is relatively simple to use. The UK is an early
adopter of DTV and is widely expected to become one of the most advanced DTV
markets in the world over the next few years. In addition, the ability to localise
content also increases the potential of DTV to assist with the social inclusion agenda.
"Our hope for the future rests with Digital Television. Because only few people have
and will have computers but everyone has a TV set. Digital television will bring in a
whole new class of audience. And will make government websites really a part of the
democratic process," said the UK government online staff.
Face to face
uk online centres