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Disabled and elderly broadband users will receive a free remote assistance service under a scheme launched by the British Computer Society.

The volunteer-staffed service will enable users who encounter problems with their computers to phone an assistant who will be able to remotely access the computer and amend the problem.

Bob Twitchin, chairman of ITCanHelp, said: "Through the advances in technology our volunteers are now able to help disabled people with their computer problems without paying them a visit.

"This means we can offer help to clients where we might not have traditionally had a volunteer in the region. It also means that volunteers can deal more efficiently with some of the more simplistic problems that occur."

Work carried by the volunteer will be logged, with clients able to view their efforts at all times. They are also free to suspend work at any time.

Since being founded in 1994, ItCanHelp's network of 50 staff has helped more than 5,000 elderly or disabled internet users.

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