'I can't imagine doing without broadband and don't know how I coped before ... it's fantastic' picture to come, being taken on wednesday ;... [Evening Gazette (UK)]
(Evening Gazette (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 'I can't imagine doing without broadband and don't know how I coped before ... it's fantastic' picture to come, being taken on wednesday ; ADVERTISEMENT FEATUREIt's your digital futureTalkTalk has promised to help get more people across the North East online - it wants everybody to have access, get connected and be able to use the internet, not only to shop and socialise but to help make everyday life that much easier. ROB REID explains.
MOST of us take broadband for granted now.
But others have only just discovered how it can change their lives for the better.
Norman Baston is one of them. A short time ago, he knew little about computers or the internet.
Now, Norman, from Seaton Delaval in Northumberland, says: "I can't imagine doing without broadband and I don't know how I coped before. It's fantastic.
"With the growth of all this new technology, if you are not online, it makes life very difficult."
Like many broadband users, Norman finds internet banking easy and convenient.
And it was actually his bank who suggested he try running his finances online, rather than have to physically go into his nearest branch.
Norman, a retired member of staff at Northumbrian Water, said: "Because so many branches have closed down in the area, it's become a bit of a trail to get to the bank - and you also have transport costs to consider.
"When the bank suggested I give online banking a shot, at first I didn't know where to start. I was a complete beginner."
Then Norman heard about a series of courses organised by Margaret Rochester, chair of the Holywell Community Centre.
They were run by Richard Wilson, a community centre ICT tutor and winner of a TalkTalk Digital Hero award for the North East of England for his work in using technology to help bring about social change.
Richard delivers classes in computing, mainly for the over-50s.
He covers every topic from basic skills such as emailing and banking to specialised subjects such as maths and accounting.
Norman attended a series of six courses run by Richard at the local community centre - and has never looked back.
He said: "The courses arranged by Margaret were great. What Richard doesn't know about computing is not worth knowing. He was fabulous - and took time to make sure we grasped what we were trying to do rather than rush it.
"I used to look on when kids were working on computers and wonder 'How did they do that?' "No one ever seemed to have the time to show you what was what. Before I took the course, I didn't even know how to attach a document.
"Thanks to Richard, suddenly it's easy. He could teach anybody."
He added: "Using broadband just makes things that much more convenient. I can keep on top of my finances when it suits me - and it is a great time and cost saver."
Norman quickly became familiar with using email - a great boon to him as he is the busy secretary of the Bates Cottages Cricket Club.
He said: "I have to deal with most of the administration of the club, coping with the day-to-day running as well as sponsorships and commercial matters.
"It used to be a massive paper chase but that has all been cut back to the minimum.
"In any case, most of the people I deal with are using email now.
"Once again, it saves a lot of time and since it costs nothing to send an email, there is a great saving on postage too.
Norman, now a keen advocate for taking advantage of the new technology, said: "I started from scratch but was amazed how quickly I got to grips with computing and broadband. I'm more confident than ever."
Norman maintains that computers and broadband are not just the exclusive province of the young and that more and more mature users are finding the web of enormous benefit - and entertainment.
And perhaps most valuable of all - it helps friends and families keep in touch even when they are living or working half a world away.
Norman said: "There is no getting away from it these days - broadband is definitely the way of the world.
"But it is important to learn how to use sites safely and securely. Richard's courses taught us all about the dangers as well as the advantages for example, the importance of using PayPal when you are buying from eBay."
Norman added: "As far as I am concerned, if you don't use broadband, you are not in the loop.
"I would encourage anyone who hasn't tried the advantages of using broadband to do so - and if they can join courses such as the ones I attended with Richard, they will find it much easier than they imagined and a lot of fun as well.
"With broadband, it's happy days as far as I am concerned."
TalkTalk is one of the leading TV, broadband, phone and mobile providers, offering the best value way to get online at home in the UK. As a founding partner of the charity Go ON UK, TalkTalk has promised to help get more people across the North East online - it wants everybody to have access, get connected and be able to use the internet, not only to shop and socialise but to help make everyday life that much easier.
There are lots of great reasons to start exploring the internet, and TalkTalk offer three simple packages to suit everyone's needs. The simplest and Britain's best value is Simply-Broadband, which is totally unlimited broadband and no calls included so you don't have the hassle of the calls you don't make. At Pounds 2.50 a month plus line rental, of Pounds 15.40, it has never been easier to discover what the online world is all about.
For information about free help to get online visit www.digitalskills.com. For more about TalkTalk, call 0800 049 1396.
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