Ntl launches community Internet strategy

Homework excuses binned as parents and teachers form 'excuse-busting' partnership on Web

Cable provider ntl hopes to wire every school in Britain with a broadband connection and bring parents digitally closer to their children's schools as it launches its community Internet strategy Thursday.

The technology -- an intranet running between pupil's homes and schools -- will first be trialled in Swindon with over a thousand families taking part. Ntl expects to extend the trial nationwide by 2005.

Ntl hopes the service will pave the way to remote learning -- with video conferencing, video streaming, video-on-demand, and educational TV broadcasts available 24 hours a day. The direct connection between homes and schools will allow parents to participate more fully in their children's education says managing director of public sector services at ntl Robert Halhead. "Parents can find out what children are doing, whether they have done their homework or just brush up on their algebra skills," he says.

The government is keen to see all homes and schools in the UK wired with broadband connections as quickly as possible. It recently upgraded its plans for an Internet connection in every school to one in every classroom.

According to Halhead, network providers like ntl can play a vital role in making government plans real. "We can provide the sought after connection between school and home and the infrastructure to help build up an electronic learning environment," he says.

In a separate announcement last week ntl extended its trial for cheaper broadband nationwide. Originally £40, the cable modem service is now available in all ntl-cabled areas for £19.99. Cable & Wireless users however will be excluded from this offer until next year.

Cable modems create a fast PC Internet connection using standard cable television wiring.

Is broadband coming to your neighbourhood? Find out with ZDNet UK's Broadband Britain Guide.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read other letters.