The next step towards universal internet access

When I first floated the idea of Paperless School three years ago, one of the common concerns voiced was that parents would object to the cost of their kids being online all the time. “Don’t worry,” I said, “everyone will have broadband soon, and permanent connection to the internet will be seen as a civil right, just like permanent connection to the water main.”

Could they see it? Could they heck. Bah! Luddites!

Um….until I tried to get an ADSL connection for my own house in Milton Keynes that is. It turns out that MK is a broadband blackspot, partly because of its very early cable system, and partly because of its unique town plan. Somewhat embarrassing for the inventor of the leading electronic publishing platform for schools. I solved the problem by moving out – but that’s not a practical option for many.

So I’m delighted to discover that MK has been selected to pilot a next-generation solution in the form of a 600kps wireless network across the whole city. (thanks ICTSN for the link) Although the vast majority of the population will wind up using wired broadband, the significance of functioning wide-area wireless networks is huge for teachers. It means that in the near future, you will be quite sure that every child in your class will have access to broadband at home. Not some. Not most. All.

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