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Free cable offer to be piloted in Glasgow

The futuristic "computer classroom" has moved a step closer in Glasgow with the launch of a Pounds 10 million investment programme this week. CableTel, which has the citywide franchise, is offering free connection to the cable telephone and television network, as well as free access to the Internet.

The work - which cash permitting, will make global, video conferencing a real possibility for schools - will be carried out over the next three to four years.

The offer - worth about Pounds 5,000 to each school - is part of the CableTel Education Initiative, and will be accompanied by a two-year research project to assess the educational gains created by the use of technology in schools. The study will focus on up to eight primary schools in the Glasgow area, recommended by university researchers and the local education authority. The views of teachers will help to point the way to best practice.There are still discussions about whether the lucky eight will also be supplied with free, state-of-the-art computer and video-suite equipment.

The scheme, launched at the Education Scotland '96 exhibition in Glasgow, is due to begin in August and has been made possible by the introduction of broadband cable technology. This provides a fast communications link capable of carrying voice, information and moving pictures interactively. The cable being used for the Glasgow schools will carry 10 mega bites each way.

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