Tuesday, November 2, 1999 Published at 15:17 GMT
£50m boost for online learning
Nearly all secondary schools are now online
A £50m programme to provide high speed links to the internet in schools and other learning institutions has been announced.
Broadband connections will allow teachers and pupils faster access to information on the web, as schools add more computers to their networks.
Broadband technology offers high capacity data and video transmissions, allowing dozens of pupils from one site to simultaneously access the internet and to use video conferencing effectively.
Announcing the money, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said: "It is important we do not rest on our laurels if the benefits of the education superhighway are to be fully realised.
"There is now an opportunity for local education authorities, in partnership with other agencies, to form regional consortia and submit innovative proposals for the introduction of broadband services for schools and other learning institutions."
Mr Blunkett also welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of proposed low cost internet access for further education colleges, as well as public libraries and citizens' advice bureaux.
Mr Blair said they would benefit from a range of special daytime, evening and weekend internet tariffs proposed by British Telecom, and that the weekend and evening tariffs would be extended to schools.
The proposals are the second stage of an intiative by the watchdog Oftel, which has already led to a number of telecoms operators providing schools with low rate daytime internet access.