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ABB opens cybercafés for staff

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Engineering group ABB is opening cybercafés in its offices and factories. This will, the company said, give all 8000 of its UK workers access to the Internet. The first cybercafé has been opened in the company's power transmission plant in Stone, Staffordshire. ABB UK chief executive Eric Drewery said: "Prime Minister Tony Blair says he wants everyone to have Internet access by 2005. We want all our 8000 UK employees to have access now." And it's not just boring old company information that they'll have access to either. Not at all, Drewery continued: "We want to make it easier for them to organise their work and home lives by enabling them to do their grocery shopping online or book a holiday during the lunch break. Although there is a serious ecommerce side to this project, we are also stressing 'Fun at work'." But not too much fun. A representative of the Swiss-Swedish group said that while all employees were being given the opportunity to access the Net, there would be certain restrictions. Access to "material of an unsavoury nature" would be blocked, she said. The announcement does not extend to giving free net access at home to ABB UK staff. Why are we pointing this out? Because if you'd read about ABB's Net initiative in today's Financial Times you'll be labouring under the misapprehension that home access is part of the story. ABB told The Register this morning that the FT had "stretched the point a little". ABB staff who work from home will be able to access the Net free from home – but not all 8000 ABB staff. A national newspaper getting the wrong end of the stick where a technology story is concerned? Surely not... ®

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