Public services are to get broadband Internet access over the next three years at a cost of more than 1 billion pounds. Broadband gives high-speed, always-on connections between computers and the Internet. It is some 35 times faster than a dial up connection. The connection plans include every primary and secondary school, all GP surgeries, hospitals, primary care trusts and health authorities and the whole of the criminal justice system.For schools broadband will give pupils, teachers and support staff ready access to media rich digital learning resources and opportunities to collaborate with other schools on a high quality secure educational network. Where broadband is already installed it has increased the confidence of teachers to use on-line curriculum resources with their pupils. It has also removed the frustrations of what is often termed the ‘world wide wait’.
The target to set up 6,000 online centres in voluntary and community centres, libraries, colleges and high street cyber-cafes by the end of 2002 has been met. The centers are designed to meet the needs of people in disadvantaged communities by providing low or no cost information and communications technology services and to encourage them into learning and updating their skills.