France plans to offer 1.2 million of the country\u2019s poorest citizens a computer with broadband Internet access for a daily fee of 1\u00a0euro\u00a0(US$1.28), to ensure that they have access to the increasing number of government services available online.The French government has set ambitious targets for making public services available over the Internet, but is concerned that almost half the population still lacks regular access to the Internet. Just over half of French households now have a PC, and 38 percent of households have Internet access\u2014more than 10 million of them with broadband. Including those who use it at work,\u00a0more than\u00a0half of all French citizens regularly use the Internet, according to government figures. However, the proportion of those online is much lower among the elderly and the poor\u2014often those most in need of state-provided services. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced the 1-euro-a-day plan after Tuesday\u2019s meeting of the Interministerial Committee for the Information Society, which proposed the idea.Service providers will be encouraged to offer bundles consisting of a low-cost PC with software for Web browsing, security and productivity, home tuition for those\u00a0who need it, and a broadband Internet connection at a tariff equivalent to 15 euros\u00a0a month or less, all on a three-year contract. The government will guarantee the price of 1 euro\u00a0a day for the poorest segment of the population, probably using the same selection criteria as a project that offers electricity at a special "basic needs" tariff.The price of 1 euro\u00a0a day is highly symbolic: Other projects offer young people the chance to take lessons and pass their driving test for\u00a0a euro\u00a0a day,\u00a0and in 2004, the government sponsored a project to offer university students a laptop for 1 euro\u00a0a day. That project will continue, the government announced, with the goal of getting laptops into the hands of 35 percent of students. Between September 2004 and September 2005, the proportion of students with laptops rose from 8 percent to 22 percent, according the government delegation on Internet use.At the same meeting, the government agreed on plans to make it easier for rural inhabitants to get broadband Internet access, by supporting the rollout of Wimax wireless services where low population density makes the provision of DSL service uneconomic.The government also pledged its support for an antispam group, Signal Spam, which launched a public information site on Monday. Later this year, the group will begin operating a service for reporting unsolicited commercial e-mail.-Peter Sayer, IDG News Service (Paris Bureau)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.