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Broadband receives stamp of approval

The Government is expected to set broadband Internet access as the minimum standard for all schools.

Broadband is faster than the ISDN links many schools have and is vital for interactive content and high-quality video. Eight regional consortia have been set up by local education authorities to develop broadband access for schools and have been allocated pound;37 million by the Department for Education and Employment (DFEE).

Representatives of the eight groups and industry figures met last month at events in London and Bristol organised by computer advisers' group AACE.

Some consortia, including London and the West Midlands, have just got under way and are operating on seedcorn funding. The London Grid for Learning advertised for a director only last month.

The delay for the London group has resulted from the DFEE telling the 32 authorities to work together to ensure a united approach for the capital after four separate groups were formed last year.

Steve Bacon, NAACE's general secretary, said the challenge was finding the best solution to the technical obstacles to meet the authorities' differing needs.

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