Micro-P eyes Home Access supply


IT distributor Micro-P will discover next month if its bid to become an IT supplier for the Government’s £300 million Home Access programme has been successful as the Government attempts to get all families online by 2011. 

Prime Minister Gordon Brown set out plans last year to get all homes in the UK online by 2011, and has set up a £300 million scheme called Home Access to help under-privileged children between the age of five and 18 to get online. It has requested IT suppliers and resellers to apply to get involved in dedicated supply of products.

Micro-P is one of 15 companies bidding to supply IT products to resellers for the scheme, which will include supplying computers, including software to protect children from adult material and viruses, and mobile broadband dongles.

The scheme will allow eligible families who bring in less than £16,000 per year, to apply for a grant of £520, which will be loaded on to a credit card redeemable in selected retailers and approved resellers on allocated items.

The programme was trialled in around 3,000 homes with underprivileged children in Oldham and the Suffolk area during April and May.

Micro-P bid in June and August to become a supplier in two separate stages. O2 and 3 are also bidding for parts of the reseller contract.

Micro-P expects to supply around 220,000 laptop and dongle units over the first 11 months of the programme as a result of the scheme, which begins January 2010, provided its bid is approved.

Mobile News understand between £30 and £40 million is to be spent in the first three months of the scheme, representing around 75,000 units across all 15 suppliers.

The grant will also cover the costs of selected monthly fixed line broadband costs, but will not cover the fixed line rentals, typically £11 per month.  Micro-P expects the majority of families to opt for mobile broadband as a result, increasing its own business opportunities.

Micro P confirmed also, it would look to approve between 500 and 750 of its current resellers to become involved with the scheme, with each being able to use Micro-P’s portal and ordering service to manage the process.

Micro-P business development director Simon Woodman said: “We are very excited about it. It gives us a great opportunity to take our proposition through to the IT and telecoms channels. It will do us tremendous favours.

“The kids will be given the grant and they will be able to go and redeem that grant at any of the recommended stockists. It’s up to us, if approved, to market it in to the channels and the schools to make sure we get our fare share of the business.”

He added: “The key thing is to make it easy access for the kids and we will have up to 750 resellers. Many of those with a grant won’t be online so it’s won’t be an online ordering service.

“The easiest thing will be is for them to walk in to their town, see the product and buy it.”