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Discount deal

United States telephone companies would help defray the cost of Internet connections to classrooms under a government proposal. The plan would provide an estimated $2.25 billion (Pounds 1.5bn) annually to link all 100,000 American elementary and secondary schools and 50 million students to the international computer network.

The money would come from an existing telephone industry trust fund to provide telephone access to rural and low-income customers. It would offset the cost of Internet access by between 40 and 90 per cent, depending on the wealth of the community. The poorer the school district, the greater the discount.

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