Comet has committed to providing free IT training for 50,000 senior citizens as the first retailer to sign-up to work with the Race Online 2012 initiative led by Martha Lane Fox.

The aim of the initiative is to have as near to 100% of the population internet-enabled by the end of 2012 as possible.

Comet is one of nine commercial partners to pledge resources to the initiative, alongside businesses such as Google, McDonald’s and Microsoft. In addition to the training it will provide, Comet will also offer a low-cost computer package for first-time users.

Comet commercial director Bob Darke told Retail Week that the company is taking a lead in the retail space as it believes that this is the “right thing to do”. He added: “We talk internally about being Britain’s most trusted electrical specialist, and so this is the sort of thing we have to be serious about and have to support.”

He added that with 400 grey goods experts across its 250 stores, it already has the resource available to support the initiative and does not expect the partnership to generate substantial additional revenue in the short term.

Other retailers interested in becoming involved with Race Online 2012 can find more details at